Protecting Coastal Environment in India: Reading Laws in the Context of Climate Change

AuthorArindam Basu,Sharda Mandal
Published date01 January 2023
Date01 January 2023
Subject MatterArticles
Protecting Coastal Environment
in India: Reading Laws in the
Context of Climate Change
Arindam Basu1 and Sharda Mandal1
The oceans’ role in maintaining the climate of this planet is unquestionably vital. But today, the fine
balance in ocean chemistry is dangerously upset by the global warming, leading to more warmer oceans
and a continuous rise in sea level across the globe. With that comes the threat to marine lives and
ecosystems. India has a 7,516.6 km long coastline which is the home to many marginal poor communities
who mainly survive on the ocean resources. Alongside, the adjacent marine environment contains
an astounding array of biodiversity, harbouring innumerable species with ecological and commercial
significance. However, Indian coastal regions are also not spared from the ill effects of climate change.
The condition is frightening enough as the lives of hundreds and thousands of people living at the
coast are at critical risk, along with the possibility of irreparable loss of biodiversity. India, thus far,
has offered a fragmented conservation methodology for its coastal regions. The laws, regulations and
policies that matter most in their current forms lack synergy and clear insight. This article tracks
those ambiguities and advances a central argument that India needs to put in place an inclusive climate
strategy without further eroding environmental laws that play a key role in conserving its coastal and
marine environment.
India’s battle against climate change is full of colourful anecdotes. Before the dawn of this century, when
the world was just becoming sentient about the perils of climate change, India boldly offered its own
version of the climate solution, essentially self-contained in nature—develop climate resilience strategies
domestically and shy away from any time-bound climate obligation. Since then, India has firmly
maintained this unpretentious stance. Today, we have come to terms with the unsettling truth that the
initial international initiatives had failed to break the intimidating spell of climate change. As a result,
our planet is still warming, and increased temperature is continuously melting enough ice in the polar
regions, only to elevate the sea level alarmingly all over the world. With that comes the foreboding dark
shadow over marine ecosystems as the ocean chemistry is relentlessly getting altered. Devastating storms
are brewing too frequently because of excessive ocean surface temperature.
Asian Journal of Legal Education
10(1) 87–100, 2023
© 2022 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/23220058221111299
Corresponding author:
Sharda Mandal, Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, IIT Kharagpur, West Bengal 721302, India.
1 Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, IIT Kharagpur, West Bengal, India.

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