When Worlds Collide #97: Living on the Edge – South Asia’s Coastal Scramble

When Worlds Collide, by Nalaka Gunawardene

Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today broadsheet newspaper on 14 February 2014

Coastal challenges of South Asia - courtesy Down to Earth Magazine, CSE Coastal challenges of South Asia – courtesy Down to Earth Magazine, CSE

Many different worlds collide on the coast – both literally and metaphorically.

Coasts are where land meets the sea. A precise coastline cannot be fixed because tides and wave action keep it dynamic. Hence the term ‘coastal zone’ for the wider interactive area where natural and human actions take place.

Coasts are also where survival and livelihood pursuits co-exist – and often compete – with recreational activity. Throw in important ecosystems such as mangroves and coral reefs, and key infrastructure like ports and power plants, and collisions are almost inevitable.

Reconciling commercial interests with fair and equitable access to everyone is never easy. It is especially difficult in the crowded coasts of South Asia, home to hundreds of millions living…

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