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India

Kavaratti

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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.

The Lakshadweep Archipelago lies in the Arabian Sea, about 200 miles off the west coast of India. Lakshadweep is the smallest Union Territory of India, with a population of approximately 60,000 people inhabiting 11 of the 36 islands.

Kavaratti is the capital and the most centrally located island in the archipelago. It has a land area of approximately 4.22 square kilometers and a permanent population of about 10,000. Human activity severely threatens its reefs and lagoons. Increased lagoon fishing, waste release to lagoons, and increasing tourism are all damaging the ecosystem.

Lakshadweep Marine Research and Conservation Centre (LMRCC) is a local organization committed to conservation and sustainable development of the area’a coral reef ecosystems. LMRCC has requested support from Seacology to construct an environmental education center. 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.

Project Updates

January 2011

Vineeta Hoon reports there was a delay in setting up the interior of the education centre because Lakshadweep Marine Research and Conservation Centre (LMRCC) staff wanted to see how the building fared during the monsoon. During the monsoon, they noted that the interiors became damp with salt deposits that came in through ventilation ducts. The ducts have now been closed to stop damp sea air from entering the building. Now 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. Educational activities that have taken place include a program for local high schoolers about the importance of coral reefs, the installation of a wall painting describing marine life at the Government Girls High School, establishment of a reef club, and creation of a living reef exhibition.

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April 2010

Field representative Vineeta Hoon reports that the construction of the conservation education centre has been completed and electric connection has been obtained. Furniture has also 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 in January for the Seacology visit to Lakshadweep. Construction of the building wall will be finished by 5th December 2009. An application for electric connection has been submitted to the local electricity office and is under active consideration. 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 have begun being shown twice a week at a local café, and a beach clean-up for uninhabited Pitti Island is held at regular intervals.

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September 2009

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

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June 2009

As of May 2009 field representative Samit Sawhny reports that the land purchase for the center will be completed by September 2009, as they are already in discussion with some land owners about this. The building should be completed by May 2010 with the purchase of furniture, books, multimedia, computer and accessories to be completed 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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