The Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park (GMMNP) has reported 10 whales washed ashore in the last 7 ½ months between Mandapam and Pamban compared to 95 whales washed ashore from 1841 to 1995 and wants an expert panel to study this phenomenon.
The dead mammals have been identified as blue whales, sei whales and sperm whales.
It is unclear if deaths are caused by the dredging in the Sethusamudram project or because of increased underwater volcanic activity near the Sumatra that has led to tsunamis. Conservator of Forests K.G. Ananda Naik has refused to speculate whether the Sethusamudram project is the cause to worry. This project was criticized by environmental activists and a study performed by a Government agency has not been revealed. Many scientists have said that the dredging will destroy the old bridge believed to have built by mythological King Rama to cross over to Sri Lanka and may also adversely affect water currents and bring out climatic changes in the water. A lot of debris and soil are being washed ashore in the Kodikarai National Forest where Point Calamere is situated.
Despite strong criticism and opposition, the Government has bulldozed the project through.