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

Sand mining Is Booming Along With Fracking

News, Sand Mining
Sep
27

Fracking, the latest craze in the quest to produce oil and gas, has been blamed for environmental problems ranging from flammable tap water to minor earthquakes. Now a new risk is emerging: sand mining. To squeeze hydrocarbons out of shale through hydraulic fracturing of the rock, the process known as fracking, producers need to pump an enormous amount of sand into the ground.

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Green Project Attempts To Tackle Jakarta’s Huge Mountains of Waste

News, Pollution
Sep
27

Mountains of trash, about 6,000 tons, are dumped unceremoniously into Jakarta’s open landfills every day, leaking pollution into the waters or just ending up blown into the sea…But enterprising groups of activists have been busy trying to reduce the growing pile of garbage.

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Officials Seek Public Comment On Beach Renourishment Project, California

Residents have two weeks left to comment on the Army Corps of Engineers beach replenishment project. In 2011 dollars, the project will cost $84.9 million over the 50-year lifespan.

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Nitrate Levels Rising in Northwestern Pacific Ocean

News, Pollution
Sep
23

Changes in the ratio of nitrate to phosphorus in the oceans off the coasts of Korea and Japan caused by atmospheric and riverine pollutants may influence the makeup of marine plants and influence marine ecology, according to researchers from Korea and the U. S.

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Scottish Nuclear Fuel Leak Will Never Be Completely Cleaned Up

News, Pollution
Sep
21

Radioactive contamination that leaked for more than two decades from the Dounreay nuclear plant on the north coast of Scotland, polluting local beaches, the coastline and the seabed, will never be completely cleaned up, a Scottish government agency has admitted.

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Asia-Pacific Region Faces Climate Change Induced Migration

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) reported that countries in the Asia-Pacific region will need to develop policies to deal with massive population shifts as a result of climate change impacts such as sea-level rise and variable monsoons. The region is highly exposed to environmental risks, having by far the highest population density of any continent living in low-elevation coastal zones, while it is also home to the largest number of people living in poverty.

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26th Annual International Coastal Cleanup: Local Action, Global Change !

News, Pollution
Sep
16

In partnership with organizations and individuals across the globe, Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup engages people to remove trash and debris from the world’s beaches and waterways, identify the sources of debris, and change the behaviors that cause ocean trash in the first place. The 26th Annual International Coastal Cleanup Day is on September 17th, 2011.

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Globe Had Eighth Warmest August On Record

The globe had its eighth warmest August since record keeping began in 1880, according to a NOAA study.

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New York: Long Island South Shore Toxic Algal Bloom

News, Pollution
Sep
14

NOAA awarded a grant to State University of New York scientists to document the first known incidence of a bloom of harmful algae off Long Island’s south shore, and test a method that could control it.The algae, Cochlodinium polykrikiodes, has been linked to the mass deaths of wild and farmed fish worldwide, with catastrophic effects on aquaculture and local economies. Experience with this type of algae elsewhere suggests that, once established, blooms are likely to re-occur.

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Recent / Inform

The Women Sand Thieves, Video

August 5th, 2010

Every day, hundreds of women scrape, shovel, dig, sift and hoard beach sand by the tons.

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CAMBODIA: Sand dredging prompts fishermen’s protests

August 4th, 2010

Prime Minister Hun Sen banned sand exports in May 2009, yet sand mining continues in Koh Kong Province, the epicentre of the country’s corrupt dredging industry. Dredgers remove 25,000 tons of sand each day from the Cambodian seas to export.

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BP Oil spill: officially the worst disaster off a U.S. coast

August 3rd, 2010

As BP prepares to seal the well for good, officials say it spewed more than 200 million gallons, by far the worst such disaster off a U.S. coast.

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E.P.A : It Was Wise to Use Oil Dispersant

August 3rd, 2010

Many scientists expressed grave concerns about the unprecedented aerial spraying of chemical dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico region.

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Erosion doubles along Alaska’s Arctic coast:: Cultural and Historical Sites Lost

August 2nd, 2010

Around the world, as many as 150 million people may become “climate refugees” because of global warming, according to an Environmental Justice Foundation report, which attributes some of the moves to rising sea levels.

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Midway Atoll, Northwestern End Of The Hawaiian Archipelago; By Chris Jordan

Chris Jordan Photography

August 1st, 2010

Message from the Gyre is an image by Chris Jordan, from the Midway Series.

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Jamaica’s Beaches in peril

July 31st, 2010

Several beaches on the western end of Jamaica could be totally wiped out in the next 5 to 10 years if local authorities and residents do not act now.

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China alleges: ocean cleared of oil 10 days after spill

July 30th, 2010

But beaches along Dalian’s long shoreline remain closed indefinitely, with oil covering rocks and pebbles on the sand.

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The battle for the beaches of Cancun

July 29th, 2010

The science of why the beaches have eroded is not nearly as complex as the politics attached to their recovery.

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Mangroves worldwide: a global loss of tidal forests

July 27th, 2010

Mangroves Report Reveals, threats and opportunities to global economy and the Planet.

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Coastal Care junior
The World's Beaches
Sand Mining
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