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The Unsung Hero of Coastal Protection: The Vital Role of Spinifex Grass

Bhubaneswar: How many of us know that Spinifex grass, a shrub found in coastal areas, plays a crucial role in the formation of sand dunes? Often overlooked and cleared from the coasts, this less-known shrub is a silent guardian against sea erosion, and its conservation and planting are essential to protect our beaches.

Understanding the significance of Spinifex grass in preventing sea erosion along the coasts, Bichitrananda Biswal, a dedicated conservationist from Astaranga near Puri, has embarked on a mission to plant this vital shrub. Since 2021, Bichitrananda has been tirelessly planting Spinifex grass along the coasts of Astaranga.

“To restore sand dunes, we need to plant Spinifex. However, without realizing its importance, people often remove the shrub. Nature has created everything with a purpose, and we have to realize it,” shared Bichitrananda Biswal.

Recently, Bichitrananda has taken his efforts a step further by creating a nursery and planting over 1,000 Spinifex grass saplings. “This year, I have created a nursery of Spinifex grass and plan to plant them in other coastal areas in July. In Jagatsinghpur, sea erosion causes water to enter the village, so I plan to plant some grass there. Near Konark, there is a place named Chandaghar where every year sea water enters the village, so I am planning to do the plantation,” he shared.

Spinifex grass, once abundant in coastal areas, is now disappearing rapidly. Experts highlight that Spinifex grass acts as a soil binder, holding soil tightly and preventing erosion. Its role is critical, especially in areas prone to sea erosion and where the integrity of sand dunes is vital for coastal protection.

Recognizing the need for greater awareness, Bichitrananda is also planning to educate the public about the importance of Spinifex grass. “Spinifex grass acts as a barrier. It’s time that, along with mangroves and casuarina, we give equal emphasis to Spinifex grass,” he emphasized.

Spinifex grass is an unsung hero in the battle against coastal erosion. As Bichitrananda Biswal’s efforts demonstrate, conserving and planting this shrub is not just an environmental necessity but a crucial step towards safeguarding our coastal communities. With increased awareness and dedicated action, we can ensure that Spinifex grass continues to play its vital role in protecting our beaches for generations to come.

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