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India

Kavaratti Island

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Conservation benefit: Establishment of a 500-acre marine protected area for 10 years

Community benefit: Construction of an environmental education center

Date Approved: 01.2009

Ocean

This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

Kavaratti Island, about 200 miles off the west coast of India, is known for its beautiful white sand beaches. Unfortunately, activities of the island’s 10,000 residents severely threaten the island’s coral reefs and lagoons. Overfishing, pollution from waste discharge into lagoons, and increasing tourism are all damaging the environment.

The Lakshadweep Marine Research and Conservation Centre (LMRCC) is a local organization that works to conserve the coral reefs and encourage sustainable development. LMRCC asked Seacology for support to build an environmental education center on Kavaratti. In exchange, the community will set aside 500 acres of Kayaratti Lagoon as a reserve. They will protect marine species there for a minimum of 10 years.

Kavaratti is the capital and the most centrally located island of the Lakshadweep Archipelago, in the Arabian Sea. It has a land area of just over a thousand acres. The entire archipelago has a population of approximately 60,000 people, spread out over 11 of the 36 islands.

Project Updates

January 2011

Vineeta Hoon, our field representative in India, reports that our nonprofit partner, LMRCC, wanted to see how the education centre building fared during the monsoon before setting up the interior. During the monsoon, they noted that damp sea air came in through ventilation ducts, and the interiors became damp with salt deposits. They have closed the ducts.

The centre is functional; a library has been set up, and wall displays are in place. LMRCC staff plans to build a platform around the building and a staircase up to the roof terrace. LMRCC has conducted a program for local high schoolers about the importance of coral reefs, installed a marine life wall painting at the Government Girls High School, established a reef club, and created a living reef exhibition.

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April 2010

Construction of the conservation education centre is complete, and electricity has been connected, according to field representative Vineeta Hoon. Furniture has been purchased, and the library is being finished. In the first week of April, a presentation, including a video on coral reef conservation, was organized for young visitors from mainland India, followed by a beach cleanup the next day.

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December 2009

Field representative Samit Sawhny reports that construction is going on at a rapid pace, and the building will likely be completed by the time a Seacology expedition visits in January. Construction of the building wall will be finished by 5th December 2009. The local electricity office is reviewing the centre’s application for an electric connection. A contract has been made with a local group for wiring the building before plastering and is expected to be completed by 15 December. The windows and doors for the building have been ordered and are being built. Conservation awareness programs are being shown twice a week at a local café, and beach clean-ups on uninhabited Pitti Island are held at regular intervals.

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September 2009

Land for the center was bought during the first week of August 2009 and was cleared in September. The building foundation has now been laid. Materials for public awareness of the conservation effort are being prepared. The building should be completed by May 2010, and the purchase of furniture, books, multimedia, computer and accessories should be completed by June 2010.

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June 2009

Field representative Samit Sawhny reports that our partners are in discussion with some landowners and should complete purchase of land for the center by September 2009. The building should be completed by May 2010, and furniture, books, multimedia, computers and accessories bought by June 2010. Additionally, Mr. Sawhny will visit Lakshadweep in July or August 2009. A Seacology delegation will also visit the site in January 2010.

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