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Hazira coastline gets new lease of life
Once barren, an area of 1,200 hectares along the Hazira peninsula now thrives with flora and fauna. The land even provides food and extra income to local residents, thanks to an eco-restoration project Shell and its partners initiated.
Naresh, a fisherman, used to live in a village with a barren coastline. Today the coastline – along the Hazira peninsula – thrives with mangrove plantations. Mudskippers and crabs have flourished, and locals go there for their daily catch. “I can easily get my food here,” said Naresh.
He is one of several thousand local residents who have benefitted from the coastline restoration project. It started when Shell and a joint venture partner decided to build a liquefied natural gas terminal in 2005. The terminal operates and supplies LNG to many customers across different industries. It is one of the largest international investments in India’s emerging energy sector and has reduced the country’s energy supply shortfall as demand has grown.
In tandem with the construction, the partners decided to also help regenerate an area of 1,200 hectares in the peninsula. They worked with the government and local residents, as well as a local non-government organization.
Residents were mobilised to help plant mangrove saplings, providing them with extra income. Since then, a green belt has grown around their village. The region has also experienced an increase in marine biodiversity, as fish, flora and fauna, have multiplied.
Another 35,000 non-mangrove saplings were planted at the backyards of villagers’ houses and in common area like schools and cemeteries. Shrubs and plants were planted as fodder near mangroves to prevent cattle from grazing and destroying the vegetation.
“I am very pleased with the transformation which has been brought to my village,” said Bhagubhai, headman of Junagam village in Hazira. “There is more greenery and more livelihood opportunities. I am very satisfied with what has happened.”