Vizhinjam town, HARBOUR & port
PLEASE NOTE: Adani is constructing a port in the region at the present time. As an on-ground foreign-based organisation we do not take part in or condone any conversations around the Adani port or associated politics.
Vizhinjam borders Kovalam to the south and is known primarily for its natural port area and extensive fishing activities. Beach resorts in the area are in stark contrast to the inland slums, with social issues such as alcoholism, drug and sexual abuse and poverty all too common amongst locals. Vizhinjam has a population estimated at around 25,000 people and consists of both a Christian and Muslim side of the harbour (an invisible line separates the two sides). Religious conflicts and rivalries have been common in the area between the two groups, however of late there have been little issues between the two sides.
A lack of waste management, poorly managed fisheries, burning of plastics, raw sewage outflow and to some extent agricultural runoff upstream from the area, have all added to the environmental issues currently facing Vizhinjam. The thriving fishing port on the Catholic side of the harbour is the heart of the region, with hundreds of fishers, auctioneers, buyers and sellers frequenting the fishing harbour on a daily basis. The fishing harbour is bordered to the south by Adani’s new port development site, which aims to serve as the largest shipping port in India when completed.
Recently, Vizhinjam has been the focus area for a major international shipping port to be constructed on its shores by Adani. There have been mixed reviews of the port, however from our research and the lack of any proper environmental impact studies, we believe that it will have significant adverse environmental impacts. The reviews that are positive tend to be from Adani and corporations that will benefit from the development and their supporters, whilst the negative reviews seem to be from the local community who are already experiencing adverse impacts from the port.
As an overseas non-profit-organisation, we must ensure that we stay out of any local politics during our time on the ground in India. We are there to create positive change and we don't want to risk that by getting involved in local issues in which the community is divided. Over the coming years, we will do our best to work around the new port and focus on conservation-driven outcomes with the local community, businesses and local government.
PLEASE refrain from discussing the port with locals and politely change the subject or plead ignorance if this matter is raised. In the long-term it will be in our best interest to do so.