ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Saudamini DasSubscribe to Saudamini Das

Assessing Marine Plastic Pollution in India

The rampant use of plastics in India and inefficient waste management practices have led to plastic waste being either piled up on dumpsites or finding their way into the open sea, contributing to the global problem of marine plastic pollution. Marine plastic pollution is a threat to the well-being of marine creatures and humans, and there are heavy economic costs as well. Providing a picture of the situation along India’s coast, this study points to the dire consequences in store if no or limited action is taken.

Adequacy of Social Assistance Schemes during the COVID-19 Lockdown

Multiple social assistance schemes were launched during the first lockdown to help the poor in India, but not all eligible households took advantage of them. Studying slum households in Delhi to evaluate the efficacy of nine central and state government schemes show that the average gain was only `992 per household for a month. If all eligible households had received benefits, this figure would have been `1,956 per household, making the distribution much fairer. The schemes decreased the indebtedness of households by an average of 12.24%, but this would have been 24% if all eligible households had been covered.

Role of Exotic Vegetation in Coastal Protection

Casuarina ( casuarina equisetifolia L ) trees of Australian origin have been planted along Indian coasts as bioshields for protection from cyclones, tsunamis, tidal water damage, and the like. This paper reviews the ecosystem services provided by casuarina in Australia and finds no mention that coastal protection has been the primary role of this species. The data from the "super cyclone" of October 1999 that devastated 12 districts of Odisha is compared with the storm protection afforded by other native species such as mangroves and mixed cashew nut forests found along the coast. It is seen that while native vegetation provided storm protection and saved human lives, casuarina did not have such an impact. The findings question the policy of planting casuarina as storm buffers in all cyclone-prone areas irrespective of the topography.

Towards 'Green Growth'

The web version of this article corrects a few errors that appeared in the print edition. Himachal Pradesh has initiated a number of projects to tap its hydropower potential, some of which will submerge parts of protected areas. To examine the implications of moving towards "green growth", this study examines the costs and benefits to the state if two hydel power plants in which reservoirs will submerge protected areas, including sanctuaries, are not undertaken. It estimates that the gain from conservation-based growth is considerable compared to the cost of going green.

Examining the Storm Protection Services of Mangroves of Orissa during the 1999 Cyclone

The paper examines whether the mangrove forests in Kendrapada district of Orissa played any protective role during the severe cyclone that hit the state in October 1999. Using data on human casualties and damages suffered by the houses as dependent variables, and different meteorological, geophysical and socio-economic factors as independent variables, this study estimates a cyclone damage function to bring out the mitigating effects of the mangrove vegetation. The results show that mangroves did significantly reduce the occurrence of human deaths and the extent of damage to residential houses. Areas with mangrove protection are seen as having fewer fully collapsed houses and more partially collapsed houses. They are also found to have been more effective in reducing deaths than in reducing the damages to static properties.
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