Inform

The health, beauty and ecosystem of our beaches is under threat

The driving cause for most of these problems is overdevelopment and poor coastal management. If no buildings crowded the shoreline, there would be no shoreline armoring, beach nourishment, threats to the beach fauna and flora or shoreline erosion problems.

Coastal Care Introduction

“Beach sand: so common, so complex, so perfect for sandcastles; and now it is a precious and vanishing resource.”

—Orrin H. Pilkey

Beaches are the most visited natural attraction on the planet. The coast attracts millions of vacationing people each year. People love the sand, the surf, the sea breeze, and the vacation ambiance so much that many come to the beach to stay. There is a magical feeling living near the ocean, but human migration towards the coast comes with a high environmental price tag.

A majority of the world’s population lives within 50 km of the coast and the projections are 75% by the year 2025. This strip of land represents only 3% of the total land mass of the planet. In this context, it is easier to understand the environmental impact. Over 70% of the earth is covered by water and with so many people living on the coast, we are polluting a major source of food, the oceans.

A beautiful undeveloped beach in Indonesia.

A beautiful undeveloped beach in Indonesia.

The loss of life and economic impacts of major storms – cyclones, typhoons, and hurricanes – and tsunamis would be reduced drastically if beaches were not developed. Unfortunately, recent examples of the problem are numerous: 1999 Indian cyclone Orissa (over 10,000 dead and $5 billion in damage), 2004 Indian Ocean tsumani (over 250,000 dead), 2005 Hurricane Katrina (over 1,800 killed and $80 billion in damage), and 2008 Hurricane Ike (over 30 killed and $30 billion in damage).

Today, the health, beauty, and ecosystem function of the world’s beaches are under threat and the driving causes for most of these problems are over-development and poor coastal management. If no buildings crowded the shoreline there would be no shoreline armoring, beach nourishment, threats to the beach fauna and flora or shoreline erosion problems.

It is important to distinguish between erosion and erosion problems. Erosion refers to the landward retreat of the shoreline. Most of the world’s shorelines are eroding, a very few are building out (accreting). There is no erosion problem, however, until someone builds something next to a shoreline. All over the world in remote areas, shorelines are slowly retreating and no one cares. In a global sense, our continents are slowly shrinking, and in a very real sense, erosion problems are man made. On a high-rise, condo-lined shoreline like those in Spain and the Florida coast, erosion is a huge problem and will only worsen in the future as sea level rise accelerates. Sea level rise will accelerate erosion of the shoreline and have a dramatic impact on our infrastructures, our economies, and our way of life.

Sea level rise is one of the most important causes of global shoreline erosion. If the coastline is developed, shoreline armoring is often used in an effort to save the buildings from the eroding shoreline. Once this begins, the beaches will degrade and eventually be lost. In the long-term, however, these armoring efforts are in vain. The ocean will continue to rise as the rate of sea level rise is expected to increase as the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets continue to degrade. The situation is made worse now because beach houses and condominiums are being built closer to the ocean than they were 25 years ago. Many of us are familiar with images of large beach houses about to fall victim to the oceans simply from daily erosion accelerated by the ever rising sea.

The work of the Santa Aguila Foundation will emphasize the impacts of sand mining and shoreline armoring: the first because the effects of sand mining have been largely ignored on a global scale and the latter due to its overwhelming negative impacts on the world’s beaches.


Surfing in / Inform

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After 14 months without tourists, Kauai’s North Shore tests the waters again

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Comments Off on After 14 months without tourists, Kauai’s North Shore tests the waters again

Sand mafias silence journalists in India

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Comments Off on Sand mafias silence journalists in India

Asian countries take a stand against the rich world’s plastic waste

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Amid a growing global movement against non-recyclable plastic, Vietnam and Thailand have said they will block all imported plastic waste in the next few years. Taiwan announced it would only accept plastic scrap if sorted into a single type, making it easier to recycle.

Comments Off on Asian countries take a stand against the rich world’s plastic waste

Japan wraps everything in plastic. Now it wants to fight against plastic pollution.

News, Pollution
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Japan’s obsession with hygiene combined with its pride in “omotenashi,” or customer service, dictates that everything is meticulously wrapped, rewrapped and bagged in multiple layers of plastic.

Comments Off on Japan wraps everything in plastic. Now it wants to fight against plastic pollution.

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News, Pollution
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A Guardian report from 11 countries tracks how US waste makes its way across the world – and overwhelms the poorest nations.

Comments Off on Where does your plastic go? Global investigation reveals America’s dirty secret

Venice becomes the front line in the battle against overtourism

Inform, Pollution
Jun
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Many Venetians believe that everyone should have a chance to experience the beauty of their city, but say that a constant swell of tourists is ruining the experience for everyone. Cruise ships have caused significant environmental damage to the city’s waterways and lagoons — sometimes colliding with other vessels.

Comments Off on Venice becomes the front line in the battle against overtourism

War on plastic, a BBC Video

Inform, Pollution
Jun
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Every minute of every day the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic is emptied into the world’s oceans. In this new three-part series, BBC reporters explore where this gigantic problem is coming from, and what we can all do to try and solve it.

Comments Off on War on plastic, a BBC Video

As Water Scarcity Increases, Desalination Plants Are on the Rise

After decades of slow progress, desalination is increasingly being used to provide drinking water around the globe. Costs for processing salt water for drinking water have dropped, but it remains an expensive option and one that creates environmental problems that must be addressed.

Comments Off on As Water Scarcity Increases, Desalination Plants Are on the Rise

Recent / Inform

Great Pacific garbage patch: giant plastic trap put to sea again

June 23rd, 2019

Floating boom is designed to trap 1.8tn items of plastic without harming marine life – but broke apart last time

Read More

After 14 months without tourists, Kauai’s North Shore tests the waters again

June 22nd, 2019

Despite the economic value tourists bring to Hawaii, state officials also face growing pressure to balance tourism with preservation of the islands’ natural resources and culture. As part of that effort, Kauai is rolling out new regulations to limit tourist traffic on the reopened highway.

Read More

Sand mafias silence journalists in India

June 22nd, 2019

Up to 50 billion metric tons of sand and gravel are extracted every year worldwide. The inexhaustible need for sand from this rapidly-developing country is the breeding ground for illegal activities by what has come to be known as the “sand mafias”.

Read More

Asian countries take a stand against the rich world’s plastic waste

June 18th, 2019

Amid a growing global movement against non-recyclable plastic, Vietnam and Thailand have said they will block all imported plastic waste in the next few years. Taiwan announced it would only accept plastic scrap if sorted into a single type, making it easier to recycle.

Read More

Japan wraps everything in plastic. Now it wants to fight against plastic pollution.

June 18th, 2019

Japan’s obsession with hygiene combined with its pride in “omotenashi,” or customer service, dictates that everything is meticulously wrapped, rewrapped and bagged in multiple layers of plastic.

Read More

Where does your plastic go? Global investigation reveals America’s dirty secret

June 17th, 2019

A Guardian report from 11 countries tracks how US waste makes its way across the world – and overwhelms the poorest nations.

Read More

Venice becomes the front line in the battle against overtourism

June 16th, 2019

Many Venetians believe that everyone should have a chance to experience the beauty of their city, but say that a constant swell of tourists is ruining the experience for everyone. Cruise ships have caused significant environmental damage to the city’s waterways and lagoons — sometimes colliding with other vessels.

Read More

War on plastic, a BBC Video

June 13th, 2019

Every minute of every day the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic is emptied into the world’s oceans. In this new three-part series, BBC reporters explore where this gigantic problem is coming from, and what we can all do to try and solve it.

Read More

As Water Scarcity Increases, Desalination Plants Are on the Rise

June 11th, 2019

After decades of slow progress, desalination is increasingly being used to provide drinking water around the globe. Costs for processing salt water for drinking water have dropped, but it remains an expensive option and one that creates environmental problems that must be addressed.

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Canada Plans to Ban Single-Use Plastics, Joining Growing Global Movement

June 10th, 2019

Canada on Monday joined a growing global movement with a plan to ban single-use plastics blighting the environment.

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Coastal Care junior
The World's Beaches
Sand Mining
One Percent