An illustration showing the VAAN island. ( Image Source:Google Map) Photograph: (Others)
A group of five researchers from IIT Madras has initiated a project to protect an island, Vaan, which is 12 km off the Tuticorin coast in Tamil Nadu.
The island is one of the 21 uninhabited islands in the Gulf of Mannar. It has shrunk from 16 hectares in 1986 to 1.5 hectares in 2015.
The institute placed 9,000 small units of 'reinforced concrete structure with holes' into the sea, about 250m off the island shoreline, according to a report in The Indian Express.
The head of Department of Ocean Engineering at IIT Madras, Professor S A Sannasiraj said similar concrete structures have already been used in other parts of the world to revive corals. But It was the first time that the project is being used to safeguard an island.
"Even though these islands are uninhabited, they perform a crucial role in dissipating wave energy before it reaches the coast of Tamil Nadu," said Sannasiraj.
Sannasiraj has been working with the Suganthi Devadason Marine Research Institute since 2014. The team had been devising and building small models which were studied in IIT.
The first layer of the artificial reef was completed in September 2015 at the cost of Rs 12 crore.
The second phase is expected to come soon.
The professor also hinted on expanding the project to another island, Kosiwari as the island is also getting eroded.