According to Kerala's Minister for Irrigation and Water Resources, the need for a system to assess the impact of beach-sand-mining in the state has become imperative.
N.K. Premachandran was speaking at the inauguration of an international workshop on 'Fluvial and marine processes of Cenozoic and formation of placers'. The Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS) organized it , in the capital city on Thursday.
Delivering the inaugural address, the minister called for an environment auditing system that could look into the causes for the increasing coastal erosion in the State.
"The damage caused by erosion is going up every year all along the 600 km coastline, forcing the Government to spend crores of rupees on coastal protection measures and protection of vulnerable communities.
"The rise in sea level, the after effects of the tsunami and the increase in wave power are cited as the reasons. There are also fears that beach-sand-mining triggers the erosion. Only a detailed research will reveal the factors responsible for the phenomenon", Mr. Premachandran averred.
The Minister also called for the setting of an institute dedicated to promoting the judicious use of the vast resources of beach-sand-minerals such as monazite, ilmenite and zircon found in Kerala.
"Understanding the processes responsible for the formation of placer minerals is important to ensure their sustainable exploitation," he added.
Chairing the function, the Executive Vice-President of the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) E.P. Yesodharan, added that the council was planning a centre for nanotechnology in application of mineral wealth.
Director of CESS M. Baba, Director, Department of Science and Technology M. Prithviraj and IGCP (International Geoscience Programme) project leader N.G. Patyk-Kara were among those who addressed the inaugural function.
The workshop comprises part of the IGCP, a cooperative enterprise of UNESCO and the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS).
Its goals include promoting a better understanding of the geological events responsible for the formation of minerals in palaeo channels and onshore and offshore areas.