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India's First Marine Eco-Sensitive Zone declared in Gulf of Kutch

Sep 10, 2013 12:17 IST

The Ministry of Environment and Forest on 9 September 2013 declared India's first marine eco-sensitive zone around Marine National Park in Gulf of Kutch, Gujarat. This decision prohibits any industrial activity in the area. It will apply stringent environmental regulations in the region for developmental works in 36 villages and 31 rivers flowing into the Arabian Sea.
The ministry declared 313 sq km around the park as an eco-sensitive zone through a notification. Of this, 208 sq km is land while the remaining is on the seaside.

The notification says that land use for recreational, commercial or industrial development will not be permitted in the area except for residential purpose. Mining, including fresh water mining, and release of polluted water and waste will also be prohibited. The ministry even disallowed fishing by trawlers.

The ministry has also directed the government to prepare a zonal ecology conservation master after consulting the inhabitants of these 36 villages. The plan should restore denuded areas as well as existing water bodies. The plan should also have provision for management of catchment areas, watershed management, groundwater and soil conservation.

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