On July 11, 2023, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) set up a committee to study the impact of sea level rise on islands and frame a suitable policy along with measures to protect islands from submergence, erosion, saline ingression, flooding and other adverse environmental aspects.
The Principal Bench of the Tribunal took suo moto cognizance of the matter based on the news item published by The Hindu on March 19, 2023, which highlighted that several islands along the Indian coast and some of the islands in the rivers were vulnerable to erosion and submergence. The rise in sea level and global warming were attributed as some of the main causes of the submergence of islands. This news report stated that an island had entirely disappeared from the map on account of such phenomena. It also explained that the sea level rise led to an influx of saline water in agricultural and drinking water in the islands.
After a notice was issued in this regard, the Ministry of Earth Sciences responded by stating that due to greenhouse gases-induced warming, the country’s average temperature increased by around 0.63 degree Celsius from 1901 to 2023 thereby leading to glaciers’ melting, sea level rise, etc.
Considering the dangers involved, the Tribunal deemed it necessary to constitute a committee to undertake a study on the impact of sea level rise on the islands. It was decided that this committee would comprise the Directors of the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa, the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Chennai, the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai and the Survey of India (SOI), Dehradun. The said committee has been tasked with formulating a policy along with measures to protect these islands from submergence, erosion, saline ingression, flooding and other adverse environmental aspects.
The committee has been directed to submit its report within three months and convene its first meeting within 15 days.
 In re: News item published in Newspaper The Hindu dated 19.03.2023 titled “India’s Sinking Island” (Original Application No.249/2023)