Visakhapatnam: Red Sand dunes popularly known as Erra Matti Dibbalu, one of the most peculiar and environmentally significant geological structures in the country, is under serious threat from senseless human interference, unregulated tourism and bureaucratic indifference.
The two-million-year-old formations are awe inspiringly beautiful thanks to the various geological changes the Earth has been witnessing over the years.
Unfortunately, its beauty has turned out to be its curse as the popular tourist spot is flocked by people leading to pollution from littering by the visitors.
Locals say that it is a popular spot with people who drink causing concern that the red sand dunes might turn into criminal den.
The hills are also frequented by young couples seeking privacy.
Prof. Rajashekhar, a retired professor of the Geology Department of AU who has been fighting for the conservation of this unique site said, “Red sand dunes hold a lot of geological significance as they reveal a lot about the period when the Earth was in its formation stage. These revelations help us predict what the future holds and also helps us prepare for the future.” He added that a lot can be learnt about climate change and rise in sea levels through studies on this site.
“Intrusive tourism is harmful for any eco-sensitive place and should be replaced by sustainable tourism or else these dunes will be destroyed in the next 10 to 15 years,” warned Rani Sarma, Intach activist from the city known for her efforts to conserve the hills.
Sarma revealed that parts of the sensitive geological site have been allotted to a housing society and Indian Navy.
S. D. Anita, district tourism officer said that, “We have stalled tourism activity plan-ned in the area. We have been allotted land adjacent to the dunes and we will be building an eco-friendly fence to restrict tourists from going to the other side.”