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

Newspaper Editor Charged For Sand Mining

News, Sand Mining
Apr
24

A Grenadian Newspaper editor, who has used his newspaper to expose what he sees as corruption in Grenada, has been arrested and charged for illegally extracting sand from the beaches…

Comments Off on Newspaper Editor Charged For Sand Mining

Fishermen Blast Premier Dive Sites off Indonesia

Coral gardens that were among Asia’s most spectacular, teeming with colorful sea life just a few months ago, have been transformed into desolate gray moonscapes by illegal fishermen who use explosives or cyanide to kill or stun their prey.The site is among several to have been hit inside Komodo National Park.

Comments Off on Fishermen Blast Premier Dive Sites off Indonesia

Earth’s Changing Face: A NASA Image Gallery

Inform
Apr
22

In celebration of this year’s Earth Day on April 22, NASA’s Webby Award-winning Global Climate Change website, has unveiled a new version of its popular image gallery, “State of Flux. Each image pair in the continuously updated gallery highlights before-and-after impacts of change including the destruction wrought by extreme events, the retreat of glaciers caused by climate change, and the expanding footprint of urban areas due to population growth.

Comments Off on Earth’s Changing Face: A NASA Image Gallery

Plastic Garbage in Oceans: Understanding Marine Pollution from Microplastic Particles

News, Pollution
Apr
22

Plastic bottles washed on to the beach are as much a part of the coast as the sound of seagulls. What the eye does not see are the innumerable ultra-small plastic objects which float in the water, are washed on to the beach or settle on the sea bed. The majority of microplastic particles are smaller than a grain of sand or the tip of a needle. It is this property that also makes them so dangerous to the sea dwellers…

Comments Off on Plastic Garbage in Oceans: Understanding Marine Pollution from Microplastic Particles

Mauritius’ Ultimate Surfing Spots

Celebrate, Inform
Apr
20

Under the shadows of Le Morne Brabant is Mauritius’ ultimate surfing spot: One Eye… so named because when a surfer finds the sweet spot in which to catch the perfect wave they will see a small hole, or “eye”, in Le Morne’s jagged rock face.

Comments Off on Mauritius’ Ultimate Surfing Spots

5 Misconceptions About Sea-Level Rise

Clear scientific consensus on global climate change amongst scientists does exist. Every major scientific organization in the United States, Europe, and Asia has produced statements supporting the science behind the human contribution to global warming and indicating an expected acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise over the next century…

Comments Off on 5 Misconceptions About Sea-Level Rise

Lakshadweep Islands

Celebrate, Inform
Apr
17

In the Arabian Sea, roughly 200 kilometers off the west coast of southern India, are the Lakshadweep Islands. The island chain consists of 27 islands along with coral atolls, and sand banks. Glistening white sand beaches ring the islands, and only 10 or 11 of the islands are inhabited.

Comments Off on Lakshadweep Islands

NOAA Releases New Views of Earth’s Ocean Floor

Inform, News
Apr
16

NOAA has made sea floor maps and other data on the world’s coasts, continental shelves and deep ocean available for easy viewing online. These are critical data for modeling coastal flooding, from tsunami to hurricane storm surge.

Comments Off on NOAA Releases New Views of Earth’s Ocean Floor

Lagos ready to battle illegal sand miners, Nigeria

News, Sand Mining
Apr
16

The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, on Tuesday said the government had no choice but to wage “serious war” against illegal sand miners in the state.

Comments Off on Lagos ready to battle illegal sand miners, Nigeria

Recent / Inform

Seaports Need a Plan for Weathering Climate Change, Researchers Say

May 17th, 2011

A warming planet means rising oceans, but the majority of seaports around the world are unprepared for the potentially damaging impacts of climate change in the coming century, according to a new Stanford University study.

Read More

Environmental and Health Hazards of Chemicals in Plastic Polymers, A Swedish Study

Chris Jordan Photography

May 16th, 2011

Many plastic products contain hazardous chemicals that can leach to the surroundings. In studies conducted at the University of Gothenburg, a third of the tested plastic products released toxic substances.

Read More

Iran expert alarmed by critical Caspian Sea pollution

May 13th, 2011

Exploitation of oil fields and traffic of large oil tankers dumps 122,350 tonnes of potentially cancerous oil pollutants into the world’s largest inland sea annually.

Read More

Marine Lab Research Tracks Pollutants in Dolphins and Beluga Whales

May 13th, 2011

Bottlenose dolphins and beluga whales, accumulate more chemical pollutants in their bodies when they live and feed in waters near urbanized areas.

Read More

Renewables key for climate, world energy supply: IPCC

May 9th, 2011

Renewable energy could meet nearly 80 percent of the world’s energy needs by mid-century and play a crucial role in fighting global warming, the UN’s climate scientists said Monday in a major report.

Read More

Vatican Science Panel Calls Attention to the Threat of Glacial Melt

May 9th, 2011

A panel of some of the world’s leading climate and glacier scientists co-chaired by a Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego researcher issued a report commissioned by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences citing the moral imperative before society to properly address climate change.

Read More

Coast Guards Take Action Against Illegal Sand Dredging

May 9th, 2011

China’s construction boom has created a strong demand for sand, a key element in making concrete, fueling an explosion in illegal sea sand dredging.

Read More

Capt. Kidd Shipwreck Site to Be Dedicated Living Museum of the Sea

May 8th, 2011

This unique museum, resting in less than 10 feet of water just 70 feet from Dominican Republic’s shoreline, will give divers the opportunity to see the 17th century ship remains, which rest on the ocean’s floor and will serve as home to sea creatures and protect precious corals and other threatened biodiversity in the surrounding reef systems.

Read More

While Energy Policy Falters, Plastic Bag Laws Multiply

May 7th, 2011

In the past decade, bans and taxes designed to reduce or eliminate bag consumption have swept the world. Certainly, the plastic industry continues to challenge these measures, strongly debating the environmental and energy benefits.

Read More

Marine Plastic Pollution in the South Pacific: The 5 Gyres Institute Reports

May 7th, 2011

Pioneering researchers with the 5 Gyres Institute, have completed their fifth expedition through all five subtropical gyres, through the South Pacific Gyre, covering 2,300 miles, beginning in Valdivia, Chile and ending on Easter Island.

Read More


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