The mission of Ocean Development Programme in India is to improve our understanding of the ocean, especially the Indian Ocean, for improving the livelihood, timely warning of coastal hazards and sustainable development of ocean resources. The prime objectives of these programmes is to improve our understanding of the ocean process through conceiving and implementing long-term observational programmes so that, we are able to model sustainable uses of the coastal zone for decision-making, forge partnerships with our neighbour through the concept of one ocean and secure recognition for the interest of Indians and the Indian ocean in regional and international bodies. The various Ocean Development Programmes in India are discussed below:
Polymetallic nodules contain magnesium, copper, nickel, cobalt, molybdenum, iron, lead, cadmium, vanadium. India has 75000 sq. km in Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) for harnessing these nodules lying on the seabed at 4000 m to 6000 m water depth. The polymetallic nodules programme consists of four components which are given below:
1. Survey and Exploration
2. Environmental Impact Assessment (ETA)
3. Technology Development (mining)
4. Metallurgy (extraction of element)
Deep-sea technology and ocean mining group is responsible for the development of technology for mining of polymetallic modules. India has joined the race to explore and develop deep-sea mining for rare Earth elements. The objective of deep-sea mining is to help meet the critical and strategic needs of the country.
It is satellite based studies plan to amend shoreline management with various programmes scheduled for tenth five year plan period, which includes R&D activities along with Marine Eco-toxicology. The programme has two components which is given below:
1. Capacity Building and Development of Infrastructure for Research and Development: This component covers four activities:
(i) Development of GIS based information system for 11 critical habitats in the coastal and marine areas in India.
(ii) Determination of waste assimilation capacity at selected estuaries along coastal areas of India.
(iii) Development of Guidelines for Environmental Impact Assessment
(iv) Preparation of Model Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management Plans
2. Survey and Training for ICMAM
3. Under the component on infrastructure, training, laboratory and other facilities have been established in the NIOT Campus, Chennai.
This programme has been in operation at 82 locations for collection and analysis of 25 parameters relating to physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water and sediments. Based on the data collected through this project, the areas of concern have been identified and steps are being taken to prevent and control the causes of pollution by supplying the information to the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs).
The coastal degradation is a major consideration in conservation context. The framework which works for the coastal conservation is Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ I and II) and Ocean Regulation Zone (ORZ I and II). They work under the guidance and legislation of Ministry of Environment and forest.
Tide gauges have practical application in the shipping and fishing industries where low or high tide can hinder access to shallow bays or location with bridges. With ATG, we can measure tides and quantify the size of Tsunamis. The measurements make it possible to derive the mean sea level.
Indian Antarctic Research Programme began in December, 1981, when the first Indian expedition was flagged off from Goa. Annual Antarctic expeditions are being sent under the aegis of the department of ocean development. India set up its first station Dakshin Gangotri. Maitri, the second one was established in 1988-89. India is in the process of setting up a third station in the Larsemann hill area (named PARAM). By virtue of its scientific activities in Antarctica, India was admitted as a Consultative Member of the Antarctic Treaty.
The Government of India has started an integrated programme for recognising the importance of information and knowledge of the sea on OOIS. It is comprises with four major units: Ocean Observing System, Ocean Information Services, Ocean Modelling and Dynamics (INDOMOD), and Satellite Coastal Oceanographic Research (SATCORE). The objectives of OOIS are given below:
1. Development of a wide large of ocean-atmospheric and coastal models
2. Generation of algorithms for retrieval of satellite parameters.
3. Augmentation of ocean observations including in-situ and satellite measurements and
4. Operationalisation of ocean advisory services.
Environment information plays important role in the formulation of environmental management policies as well as decision making processes.