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

World Oceans Day 2018: the battle against single-use plastic

News, Pollution
Jun
8

From Paris to Hong Kong, and Quito to Malé, on June 8, 2018, people around the world are celebrating World Oceans Day…

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Beach Report Card 2017-18: Banner Year for Water Quality

News, Pollution
Jun
7

Heal the Bay today, released their 28th annual Beach Report Card, which assigns yearly A-to-F water-quality grades for more than 400 beaches along the California shoreline, based on levels of harmful bacteria.

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India vows to ban all single-use plastics by 2022

News, Pollution
Jun
6

India has vowed to ban all single-use plastics by 2022, according to the U.N.’s environmental agency, which called it an “unprecedented ambitious move against disposable plastic…”

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Bracing for the meltwater pulse in Miami

coastal-erosion

How rising seas are already dismantling our ideas of home.

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The planet is on edge of a global plastic calamity

We urgently need consumers, business and governments to cut consumption of single-use, throwaway plastics, writes the UN Environment chief

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How India’s Fishermen Turn Ocean Plastic Into Roads

In an innovative project, fishermen in Kerala collect ocean plastic for recycling, cleaning the ocean in the process.

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Plastic pollution: ‘Scourge’ of debris on UK beaches tackled

coastal-clean-up
News, Pollution
Jun
2

More than 400 beaches around England will be checked weekly in a bid to tackle the “scourge” of discarded plastic, the Environment Agency (EA) has said.

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How Running on the Beach Can Boost Your Performance

Studies have shown that running on the beach, —especially on soft, dry sand that’’s typically found farther from the water’’s edge— will likely lower one’s odds of impact-associated overuse injuries.

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A wider, deeper beach awaits Ocean City vacationers, but is it safe?

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.

Comments Off on A wider, deeper beach awaits Ocean City vacationers, but is it safe?

Recent / Inform

Beach Report Card 2017-18: Banner Year for Water Quality

June 7th, 2018

Heal the Bay today, released their 28th annual Beach Report Card, which assigns yearly A-to-F water-quality grades for more than 400 beaches along the California shoreline, based on levels of harmful bacteria.

Read More

India vows to ban all single-use plastics by 2022

June 6th, 2018

India has vowed to ban all single-use plastics by 2022, according to the U.N.’s environmental agency, which called it an “unprecedented ambitious move against disposable plastic…”

Read More

Bracing for the meltwater pulse in Miami

coastal-erosion

June 6th, 2018

How rising seas are already dismantling our ideas of home.

Read More

The planet is on edge of a global plastic calamity

June 5th, 2018

We urgently need consumers, business and governments to cut consumption of single-use, throwaway plastics, writes the UN Environment chief

Read More

How India’s Fishermen Turn Ocean Plastic Into Roads

June 3rd, 2018

In an innovative project, fishermen in Kerala collect ocean plastic for recycling, cleaning the ocean in the process.

Read More

Plastic pollution: ‘Scourge’ of debris on UK beaches tackled

coastal-clean-up

June 2nd, 2018

More than 400 beaches around England will be checked weekly in a bid to tackle the “scourge” of discarded plastic, the Environment Agency (EA) has said.

Read More

How Running on the Beach Can Boost Your Performance

June 2nd, 2018

Studies have shown that running on the beach, —especially on soft, dry sand that’’s typically found farther from the water’’s edge— will likely lower one’s odds of impact-associated overuse injuries.

Read More

A wider, deeper beach awaits Ocean City vacationers, but is it safe?

June 2nd, 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.

Read More

A guide to Barcelona’s beaches

June 2nd, 2018

Even without its beaches, Barcelona would be one of Europe’s coolest destinations thanks to its groundbreaking food scene, unique architecture and legendary nightlife. But the cherry on the sundae is the three-mile strip of nearly continuous golden sand, which is so wired into its heart that it’s like the entire city’s backyard.

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Sun, sea and the open road: an American fly-drive for beach fans

May 31st, 2018

Want an ocean drive? Visit some of the best beaches in the world with a trip to Miami, San Diego and Los Angeles.

Read More


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