The Environmental Cost of Land Reclamation

hong-kong
Land reclamation, Hong Kong, South China Sea. Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care.
“Sand is the second most consumed natural resource, after water. The construction-building industry is by far the largest consumer of this finite resource, followed by the land reclamation industry. The Sand business has been estimated to be a $70 billion industry, worldwide…” Captions from Award-winning Filmmaker: ©2013 Denis Delestrac

Excerpts;

The stories exposed the powerful commercial interests behind reclamation in China’s coastal regions over the previous decade and the widespread damage they had done to marine ecosystems…

Read Full Article; Caixin Environment (11-08-2019)

Hong Kong land reclamation explained: the good, bad and ugly methods of pushing back the sea; SCMP (07-29-2018)

Government’s ambitious 2030 land reclamation plan to cost HK$400 billion; South China Morning Post (12-04-2016)

Cities from the sea: the true cost of reclaimed land; Guardian UK (05-02-2018)
Asia is growing. Literally. From Malaysia to Dubai, luxury developments are rising on artificial islands and coastlines. Everybody wins – except the local sea life and the fishermen who depend on it…

Hong Kong’s Government Is Spending Billions Taking Land from the Sea; Vice (11-10-2017)
Through expensive, time intensive, and complicated land reclamation projects, Hong Kong is continually extending out and into the water, where there wasn’t land before…

Built on Sand: Singapore and the New State of Risk, Harvard Design Magazine (09-07-2015)
The island’s expansion has been a colossal undertaking. It is not merely a matter of coastal reclamation: Singapore is growing vertically as well as horizontally. This means that the nation’s market needs fine river sand—used for beaches and concrete—as well as coarse sea sand to create new ground…

Cambodia’s villagers lose ground – literally – to Singapore’s expansion; CSM (10-21-2016)
Singapore is buying tens of millions of tons of sand for its land reclamation projects. Their dredging is destroying Cambodia’s coastal mangrove forests, and fishermen’s livelihoods with them. But the villagers are pushing back…

Monaco’s $2.3bn project to expand into Mediterranean Sea; CNN (01-04-2018)
Now construction has begun on a €2 billion ($2.3 billion) project to extend the natural contour of Monaco’s coastline a further 15 acres into the Mediterranean…

Such Quantities of Sand, The Economist (07-27-2015)
Asia’s mania for reclaiming land from the sea spawns mounting problems…

Land reclamation has harmed marine life: Survey, The Peninsula Quatar (03-05-2017)
Survey shows that land reclamation has adverse effects on coral reefs and fish quantity has decreased in the last five years in the coastal areas of Doha, Quatar…

What Happens to a Coral Reef When an Island is Built on Top? the Washington Post (07-11-2015)
Seven such coral reefs are being turned into islands, with harbors and landing strips by the Chinese military, and it is destroying a rich ecological network. “It’s the worst thing that has happened to coral reefs in our lifetime…”

Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report (GEA-March 2014)
Despite the colossal quantities of sand and gravel being used, our increasing dependence on them and the significant impact that their extraction has on the environment, this issue has been mostly ignored by policy makers and remains largely unknown by the general public.
In March 2014 The United Nations released its first Report about sand mining. “Sand Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013)

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care

Mangroves, hardy shore-bound plants vital to many coastlines, are under threat


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Mangroves are disappearing quickly because of human development, and over a quarter of Earth’s original mangrove forests have now been lost. Rising sea levels kill off mangroves — and as the climate changes and sea levels rise even more, losses could increase…

Read Full Article; The Washington Post (11-16-2019)

Destruction of Mangroves Costs up to US$42 billion in Economic Damages Annually – UNEP Report (10-14-2014)
The world is losing its mangroves at a faster rate than global deforestation, the United Nations revealed, in a new report “Importance of Mangroves: A Call to Action,” adding that the destruction of the coastal habitats was costing billions in economic damages and impacting millions of lives…

Read Full Article; Yale E360 (11-22-2019)

Sri Lankan mangroves respond to conservation plan; SciDev (08-18-2016)
A year after Sri Lanka launched a mangrove conservation plan, about half of its 37,000 hectares of mangrove forests are in a various stage of revival, officials say…

Sri Lanka to become the first nation in the world to protect all its mangroves; Guardian UK (05-12-2015)
More than half the world’s mangroves have been lost over the last century but all of those surviving in Sri Lanka, one of their most important havens, are now to be protected in an unprecedented operation…

Trump Administration announces plan to expand oil development in Alaska


Alaska. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

The Trump administration announced a new plan that could open up an additional 6.6 million acres within the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska to fossil fuel development.

One of the plan’s proposals would allow drilling on 80 percent of the reserve, considered the largest undisturbed tract of public land in the United States…

Read Full Article; Yale E360 (11-22-2019)

Trump Moves to Open Nearly All Offshore Waters to Drilling; The New York Times (01-04-2018)

Trump Spares NO Coast, Every State at Risk: A Call To Take Action, By NRDC (01-05-2018)

US official reveals Atlantic drilling plan while hailing Trump’s ability to distract public; Guardian UK (03-14-2019)

Business View: ‘No Good Reason For Drilling’; Coastal review (05-31-2017)
Every aspect of offshore drilling, from exploration to transporting the product from the drilling site, has implications for marine life and coastal communities…

The ‘Job-Killing’ Fiction Behind Trump’s Retreat on Fuel Economy Standards; Yale E360 (04-20-2017)

Estimates of offshore drilling’s benefits exaggerated, report says, The Virginian Pilot (12-15-2015)

Trump, reversing Obama, will push to expand drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic, The Washington Post (04-28-2017)

City of Miami Declares Climate Change Emergency


Miami City’s Skyline, Through the Reflex System of a Camera. Photo courtesy of: ©Marc Martinez

Excerpts;

The city of Miami has joined the city of Miami Beach in declaring a climate change emergency…

Read Full Article and Watch Video; NBC Miami (11-22-2019)

Miami Beach declares a climate emergency. Youth activists want other cities to do it too; The Miami Herald (10-18-2019)
Miami Beach is one of more than 1,100 jurisdictions in 20 counties that have declared a climate emergency, including New York City, the United Kingdom, and even Pope Francis. The long-simmering conversation about a climate emergency exploded in 2018 after an October United Nations report said that humanity needed to halve carbon emissions by 2030 to avoid even more dramatic changes by the end of the century…

Waterfront retreat: a Bay community faces rising seas and buyouts


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Beset by sea level rise and increasing storm damage, most residents of the Delaware Bay community of Money Island have opted to take buyouts from the state and abandon their homes. An e360 video shows that for those who remain, the decision to stay or leave can be agonizing…

Read Full Article and Watch Video; Yale E360 (11-21-2019)

Rising sea levels pose threat to homes of 300m people – study; Guardian UK (10-29-2019)

Is Your Home At Risk Of Flooding From Rising Seas By 2050? Check This Map; BuzzFeed News (11-13-2018)

Coastal property was once king. Fears of climate change are undermining its value; The WSJ (10-31-2018)
In a growing number of coastal communities, homes near the sea are appreciating more slowly than those inland. That’s bad news for people on the beach, good news for those farther away…

Coastal residents need to set aside money now to cope with future flooding; Sun Sentinel (07-10-2018)
Sea-level rise is a national economic insecurity. According to the National Ocean Service, 39 percent of the U.S. population in 2010 lived in counties that are on shorelines…

Coastal homes could see flood insurance premium going up again, and that’s only the beginning; Miami Herald (07-24-2018)

Sea level rise is already eroding home values, unbeknownst to their owners; NOLA (08-21-2018)

Rising seas threaten nearly $1 trillion worth of US homes, and most of them are moderately priced; CNBC (10-18-2017)

Sea Level Rise Will Reshape U.S. Population In All 50 States; Yale E360 (04-19-2017)
Sea level rise could cause mass migrations that will affect not just the United States’ East Coast, but reshape communities deep in the heart of the country, according to new research…

Surrendering to rising seas; Scientific American (08-2018)
Coastal communities struggling to adapt to climate change are beginning to do what was once unthinkable: retreat…

California prepares policy for coastal ‘retreat’; E & E News (12-07-2018)
Oceanfront homes could be demolished along California’s coastline under a groundbreaking proposal to preserve the state’s made-for-movies beaches before they’re destroyed by rising seawater. The California Coastal Commission plans to release guidance early next year for dealing with sea-level rise in residential areas…

Let’s end war with ocean, Op-Ed by Orrin H. Pilkey (04-2017)
The immediate future most certainly holds more miles of sandbags, resulting in more narrowed and ugly beaches.But this trend can be halted and reversed. Now is the time to make peace with the ocean.The time is now to stop sandbagging, both physically with no more shore-hardening structures, and politically with no more exceptions to the intent of the rules, no more undermining existing legislation, and a return to enforcement…

The only answer to rising seas is to retreat; By Orrin H. Pilkey & Keith C. Pilkey; The News & Observer (10-18-2017)
Except for the timing, there is no controversy among scientists regarding sea level rise. Defending the coast and holding the shoreline in place ultimately will be futile. With a three-foot or a six-foot sea level rise, we will retreat, probably beginning within the next 50 years…

Fish in California estuaries are evolving as climate change alters their habitat


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

The threespine stickleback, a small fish found throughout the coastal areas of the Northern Hemisphere, is famously variable in appearance from one location to another, making it an ideal subject for studying how species adapt to different environments.

A new study shows that stickleback populations in estuaries along the coast of California have evolved over the past 40 years as climate change has altered their coastal habitats…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (11-21-2019)

In the deserts of Dubai, salmon farming thrives

dubai-artificial-islands1
Artificial islands, Dubai. Photo: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Even for a country known for its extravagant ventures, building Fish Farm, located along the southern border of the emirate, was a challenging endeavour. Salmon usually live in cold waters such as those in and off Iceland, Norway, Scotland and Alaska…

Read Full Article; PhysOrg (11-19-2019)

Farmed salmon are different at DNA level than wild salmon in hundreds of ways; Oregon State University (02-18-2016)

Farmed Fish Consumption At Record High, UN Report Reveals, Guardian Uk (05-19-2014)
Humans have never eaten so much fish and other seafood, but nearly half of it is no longer caught wild but is grown in farms, says the United Nations. The rapid growth in the number of people living near coasts and fish farming’s ability to keep up with population growth has seen per capita fish consumption soar from 10kg per person in the 1960s to more than 19kg in 2012…

Artifishial : The Fight to Save Wild Salmon; Patagonia Films – 2019

The sun can help break down ocean plastic, but there’s a catch


This Rainbow Runner had consumed 17 plastic fragments. Photo source: EHP -©5 Gyres
“The unprecedented plastic waste tide plaguing our oceans and shores, can become as limited as our chosen relationship with plastics, which involves a dramatic behavioral change on our part…”
© SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

A recent study in the Journal of Hazardous Materials found that when four different types of post-consumer microplastics collected from the waters of the North Pacific Gyre were placed under a solar simulator, they dissolved into organic carbon.

This dissolved organic carbon was then, for the most part, munched up by marine bacteria in the water, which then likely converting it to carbon dioxide…

Read Full Article; PoPSci (11-18-2019)

Plastic Pollution: “When The Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide,” Coastal Care
Plastic is versatile, lightweight, flexible, moisture resistant, strong, and relatively inexpensive. Those are the attractive qualities that lead us, around the world, to such a voracious appetite and over-consumption of plastic goods. However, durable and very slow to degrade, plastic materials that are used in the production of so many products all, ultimately, become waste with staying power. Our tremendous attraction to plastic, coupled with an undeniable behavioral propensity of increasingly over-consuming, discarding, littering and thus polluting, has become a combination of lethal nature…

Sand re-nourishment could be culprit for beach-related accidents


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care.
“Development is absolutely responsible for the majority of the beach nourishment,” Andrew Coburn, assistant director of The Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University, said. “Well over 99 percent of the shorelines that are nourished are developed so there is some economic value placed behind them.”

Excerpts;

A group of researchers found that after beach re-nourishment projects, there was a significant increase in the number of drownings and serious accidents along those same beaches…

Read Full Article; CBS Miami (11-13-2019)

Widening beaches might bring more hazards, researchers say; Sun Sentinel (04-04-2018)
Widening beaches might be linked to an increase in accidents, according to new data. The number of ocean rescues spikes after beaches are buffed up, according to the data published in the Journal of Ocean Research…

Is pumping more sand onto NC beaches causing deadly currents?; The News & Observer (08-30-2018)
A growing number of scientists and coastal engineers worry that there’s a serious downside to beach nourishment: Unnaturally altered beaches could pose an elevated risk of injury to the very tourists that sand replenishment was meant to attract…

A wider, deeper beach awaits Ocean City vacationers, but is it safe? The Washington Post (06-01-2018)
Ocean City vacationers may notice deeper, wider beaches, the result of a $282 million sand-dredging project aimed at protecting the resort town from storm damage. But the work also raises concerns about surf injuries and swimmer safety…

Factbox: Sifting Through U.S. Beach Sand Numbers; Reuters (02-16-2018)

A look at the billions of dollars behind beach renourishment: Is it worth it?; WMBF (10-15-2018)

“A Never-Ending Commitment”: The High Cost of Preserving Vulnerable Beaches; ProPublica (09-27-2018)
The U.S. government pays to dump truckloads of sand onto eroding beaches, in a cycle that is said to harm ecosystems and disproportionately benefit the rich…

Beach rebuilding efforts won’t stave off climate change impacts forever; Guardian UK (09-20-2018)

Can Adding Sand to Beaches Save Them? How Stuff Works (04-13-2018)
The question is, can beach nourishment keep up with the ever-increasing forces of climate change or, like Sisyphus forever pushing his boulder up the hill, is adding sand to beaches an expensive, temporary fix to a long-term problem?..

Coastal geologist criticizes beach renourishment efforts; By Robert S. Young, PhD; The State (08-17-2016)
Rob Young, who heads the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University, said the government is subsidizing coastal development with renourishment money – and that’s costing taxpayers. Communities across the country have spent millions of dollars renourishing beaches. Those efforts encourage people to rebuild after every major hurricane…

Palm Beach Mid-Town Dredge Project, A Youtube Video (02-04-2015)
“Beach nourishment projects like this have become commonplace along the US East and Gulf Coasts. These projects have immediate environmental impacts through burial of nearshore habitat and increased turbidity during project placement.The cumulative environmental impacts of doing this repeatedly on the same beach while conducting projects from Maine to Texas is unknown. But, we should be concerned. ” —Robert S. Young, PhD, Director, Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, Professor, Coastal Geology, Western Carolina University

Piling sand to stop erosion ultimately made the land sink, study says, NOLA (12-26-2015)

The mission of the Santa Aguila Foundation is to raise awareness of and mobilize people against the ongoing decimation of coastlines around the world.

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