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

Rapid, large-scale, coordinated action needed to beat pollution – UN chief

News, Pollution
Dec
4

Noting the severity of the threats posed by pollution to both people and the planet, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the need for rapid, large-scale and coordinated action by all actors to make the world pollution-free.

Comments Off on Rapid, large-scale, coordinated action needed to beat pollution – UN chief

Q&A: “What Price Do We Put on Our Oceans?”

News, Pollution
Dec
3

An interview with the Executive Director of United Nations Environment ERIK SOLHEIM ahead of the Dec. 4-6 3rd UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, where 193 member states will discuss and make global commitments to environmental protection.

Comments Off on Q&A: “What Price Do We Put on Our Oceans?”

Monitoring Mumbai’s Mangroves

In this booming city, India’s largest, mangrove forests have historically been overlooked. Large tracts of them were removed as part of land reclamation projects, and many of the mangroves that remain have become dumping grounds for garbage and targets for developers and squatters.

Comments Off on Monitoring Mumbai’s Mangroves

Buried in marshes’: sea-level rise could destroy historic sites on US east coast

Large tracts of America’s east coast heritage are at risk from being wiped out by sea level rise, with the rising oceans set to threaten more than 13,000 archaeological and historic sites, according to new research.

Comments Off on Buried in marshes’: sea-level rise could destroy historic sites on US east coast

Lobster found with Pepsi logo ‘tattoo’ fuels fears over ocean litter

News, Pollution
Nov
29

Concerns over debris littering the world’s oceans are back in the spotlight after a Canadian fishing crew found a lobster with the blue and red Pepsi logo imprinted on its claw.

Comments Off on Lobster found with Pepsi logo ‘tattoo’ fuels fears over ocean litter

Replanting Mangroves Vital To Protecting Coastline And Fisheries Resources, Fiji

For many years mangrove forests have suffered from human activities and the ravages of extreme weather patterns. Now the fightback to protect and preserve them has intensified.

Comments Off on Replanting Mangroves Vital To Protecting Coastline And Fisheries Resources, Fiji

Could we run out of sand? Because we are going through it fast

On parts of the shoreline in the Moroccan beach town of Tangier, something is amiss. Though the ocean is there — its waves lapping, crashing and roaring as they have since time immemorial — it is not a place for long days of lazing on soft sand. Because there isn’t any.

Comments Off on Could we run out of sand? Because we are going through it fast

First inland South Carolina tract purchased in Cape Romain effort to save habitat as seas rise

The vast island seascape of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge just gained a first tiny foothold on what could be its future.

Comments Off on First inland South Carolina tract purchased in Cape Romain effort to save habitat as seas rise

Protecting The Netherlands’ Vulnerable Coasts With A ‘Sand Motor’

Erosion, Inform
Nov
27

Along the southwestern coast of the Netherlands, not far from The Hague, kite surfers glide on the waves around a huge sand peninsula where beachcombers photograph seagulls. But the peninsula is more than just a recreation spot. It’s also an experiment in coastal management: It keeps the sea away from nearby cities.

Comments Off on Protecting The Netherlands’ Vulnerable Coasts With A ‘Sand Motor’

Recent / Inform

Q&A: “What Price Do We Put on Our Oceans?”

December 3rd, 2017

An interview with the Executive Director of United Nations Environment ERIK SOLHEIM ahead of the Dec. 4-6 3rd UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, where 193 member states will discuss and make global commitments to environmental protection.

Read More

Monitoring Mumbai’s Mangroves

December 2nd, 2017

In this booming city, India’s largest, mangrove forests have historically been overlooked. Large tracts of them were removed as part of land reclamation projects, and many of the mangroves that remain have become dumping grounds for garbage and targets for developers and squatters.

Read More

Buried in marshes’: sea-level rise could destroy historic sites on US east coast

November 29th, 2017

Large tracts of America’s east coast heritage are at risk from being wiped out by sea level rise, with the rising oceans set to threaten more than 13,000 archaeological and historic sites, according to new research.

Read More

Lobster found with Pepsi logo ‘tattoo’ fuels fears over ocean litter

November 29th, 2017

Concerns over debris littering the world’s oceans are back in the spotlight after a Canadian fishing crew found a lobster with the blue and red Pepsi logo imprinted on its claw.

Read More

Replanting Mangroves Vital To Protecting Coastline And Fisheries Resources, Fiji

November 29th, 2017

For many years mangrove forests have suffered from human activities and the ravages of extreme weather patterns. Now the fightback to protect and preserve them has intensified.

Read More

Could we run out of sand? Because we are going through it fast

November 28th, 2017

On parts of the shoreline in the Moroccan beach town of Tangier, something is amiss. Though the ocean is there — its waves lapping, crashing and roaring as they have since time immemorial — it is not a place for long days of lazing on soft sand. Because there isn’t any.

Read More

First inland South Carolina tract purchased in Cape Romain effort to save habitat as seas rise

November 27th, 2017

The vast island seascape of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge just gained a first tiny foothold on what could be its future.

Read More

Protecting The Netherlands’ Vulnerable Coasts With A ‘Sand Motor’

November 27th, 2017

Along the southwestern coast of the Netherlands, not far from The Hague, kite surfers glide on the waves around a huge sand peninsula where beachcombers photograph seagulls. But the peninsula is more than just a recreation spot. It’s also an experiment in coastal management: It keeps the sea away from nearby cities.

Read More

As oceans warm, the World’s kelp forests begin to disappear

November 25th, 2017

Kelp forests — luxuriant coastal ecosystems that are home to a wide variety of marine biodiversity — are being wiped out from Tasmania to California, replaced by sea urchin barrens that are nearly devoid of life.

Read More

Sand miners are stripping bare Moroccan beaches; By Ghalia Kadiri / Le Monde

November 24th, 2017

Legal and illegal sand miners are competing in the race to provide sand for use in the construction industry. The traffic is such that entire beaches are disappearing.

Read More


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