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IIT Madras Team is Rebuilding an Island in Tamil Nadu: All You Need to Know

Saving a submerging island has now been made possible by a team of IIT Madras researchers. The IIT team is in the process of rehabilitating the Vaan Island located off the coast of Tamil Nadu and the team has had a promising start.

Updated:August 4, 2017, 2:12 PM IST
IIT Madras Team is Rebuilding an Island in Tamil Nadu: All You Need to Know
Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. Representative Image.
An IIT Madras team of researchers has practically grown an island back to life after the island had shrunk to a mere 1.5 hectares in 2015. The 5 team members used ‘artificial reefs’ to grow the disappearing ‘Vaan’ island back to a size of 1.64 hectares, a growth of 7.6 percent within two years. Located southernmost in the Marine Biosphere Reserve. A 2015 database of the Tamil Nadu government red-flagged the Vaan Island, mentioning the submergence of one-fourth area of the island. Since 1985, the island had shrunk from 16 hectares to 1.5 hectares in 2015. The database blamed coral mining, biotic intrusion from Tuticorin town and frequent fires by fishermen for the shrinking island.

IIT Madras was sought to protect the island from the impending doom. The IIT team was asked to enable the rehabilitation of coral reef, while also reducing the erosion on the island. The IIT Madras research team then used “9,000 small units of reinforced concrete structure with holes” according to the paper. The concrete structures were being used for reviving an island for the first time in the world.

The team led by the Head of Department of Ocean Engineering at IIT Madras - Prof S A Sannasiraj, worked with Tuticorin based Suganthi Devadason Marine Research Institute to build and study small scale models and accordingly strategize the rehabilitation.

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