Category Archives: Inform

Bacterial communities ‘hitchhiking’ on marine plastic trash


“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…”
Captions and Photo: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Millions of tons of plastic trash are fouling the world’s ocean, most of it tiny pieces of microplastic less than a quarter-inch in size. Even the smallest marine animals can ingest these microplastics, potentially threatening their survival.

Marine microplastics aren’t floating solo, either — they quickly pick up a thin coating of bacteria and other microbes, a biofilm known as “The Plastisphere.”

Using an innovative microscopy method, scientists have revealed the structure of the microbial communities coating microplastic trash collected from a variety of ocean sites…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (12-02-2019)

New UN report finds marine debris harming more than 800 species, costing countries millions; United Nations (12-05-2016)
Marine debris is negatively affecting more than 800 animal species and causing serious losses to many countries’ economies, according to a United Nations report launched December 5th, 2016…

Plastic pollution: When The Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide, Coastal Care
Washed out on our coasts in obvious and clearly visible form, the plastic pollution spectacle blatantly unveiling on our beaches is only the prelude of the greater story that unfolded further away in the world’s oceans, yet mostly originating from where we stand: the land…

Engineers hope high-tech sandbags will keep the beach in Waikiki from disappearing

hawaii-coastal-erosion
Coastal erosion, Hawaii. “Sandbagging is pretty much an exercise in futility. The only benefit is psychological, the feeling of doing something…” Captions and Photo source: ©© Davidd

Excerpts;

A fresh round of repairs to Hawaii’s most famous beach have been completed ― and engineers hope their latest idea will do more to help the shoreline from washing away.

Over the last three weeks, and at a cost of roughly $700,000, engineers worked to install a 95-foot sandbag groin at Waikiki Beach, along with hauling in tons of new sand to help replenish it…

Read Full Article; Hawaii News (11-29-2019)

‘Sand mattress’ technology to combat Mother Nature at Kuhio Beach; KHON News (12-17-2017)

Waikiki Beach Is Totally Man-Made And Disappearing. Can Hawaii Save It?Huffington Green (03-10-2015)

Doubling of Coastal Erosion by Mid-Century in Hawai’i, Science Daily (03-24-2015)
Chronic erosion dominates the sandy beaches of Hawai’i, causing beach loss as it damages homes, infrastructure, and critical habitat. Researchers have long understood that global sea level rise will affect the rate of coastal erosion. However, new research indicates that coastal erosion of Hawai’i’s beaches may double by mid-century…

Terminal Groins Don’t Stop Erosion; Coastal Review (05-03-2016)

The Negative Impacts Of Groins, (02-12-2009)
The negative impact of groins on downdrift shorelines is well understood. When a groin works as intended, sand moving along the beach in the so-called downdrift direction is trapped on the updrift side of the groin, causing a sand deficit and increasing erosion rates on the downdrift side. This well-documented and unquestioned impact is widely cited in the engineering and geologic literature.

Seawalls: Ecological effects of coastal armoring in soft sediment environments; Science Daily (07-24-2017)
For nearly a century, America’s coasts — particularly those with large urban populations — have been armored with human made structures such as seawalls. These structures essentially draw a line in the sand that constrains the ability of the shoreline to respond to changes in sea level and other dynamic coastal processes…

“Seawalls Kill Beaches,” Open Letters by Warner Chabot And Rob Young; (10-03-2014)

Living on the shores of Hawaii: natural hazards, the environment, and our communities, A book by Chip Fletcher; Robynne Boyd, William J. Neal and Virginia Tice.
“Living on the shores of Hawaii: natural hazards, the environment, and our communities” addresses a wide range of environmental concerns within the context of sustainability and their influence on the future of Hawaii…

Sandbagging at the Shore: North Carolina’s Coastal Sand Bags and Political Sandbaggers; By William Neal, Orrin Pilkey & Norma Longo;
The wonder of modern English is how social use of language expands and changes the meaning of words. Sand bag is a bag filled with sand used for temporary construction—quickly made, easily transported, and easily removed. Typically, sandbagging is the emplacement of sand bags to construct a temporary protective wall or barrier, such as a dike or dam to hold back flood waters, or protection on the battlefield. But the term ‘sandbagging’ has taken on an array of other meanings…

Rethinking Living Shorelines, By Orrin H. Pilkey, Rob Young, Norma Longo, and Andy Coburn;Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines / Western Carolina University, March 1, 2012, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University
In response to the detrimental environmental impacts caused by traditional erosion control structures, environmental groups, state and federal resource management agencies, now advocate an approach known as “Living Shorelines”that embraces the use of natural habitat elements such as indigenous vegetation, to stabilize and protect eroding shorelines.

waikiki-beach-renourishment
Waikiki beach-renourishement, 2012. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care.
“Hawaii’s famed Waikiki Beach started to erode again, less than a year after the completion of a $2.2 million project to replenish the sand on about 1,730 feet of shoreline that had been suffering from chronic erosion.”
“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.”

Climate change is reshaping communities of ocean organisms


Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Climate change is reshaping communities of fish and other sea life, according to a pioneering study on how ocean warming is affecting the mix of species. The study covers species that are important for fisheries and that serve as food for fish, such as copepods and other zooplankton…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (11-25-2019)

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

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)

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)

We’re recycling but garbage keeps piling up: What you may not know about the recycling industry


Bali, Kuta beach. Photo courtesy of: © Claude Graves.
“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…” —Coastal Care ©

Excerpts;

Recycling is a market-driven industry.

Recycling grew from just 6% of the waste stream in the 1960s to 35% in 2017, according to the EPA. The EPA touts the benefits of recycling including reducing waste, conserving energy as well as creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. But if there is no market for the recyclable goods, then those materials go to landfills.

In January 2018, global markets and commodity pricing of all scrap materials were severely disrupted by China’s National Sword policy, which banned plastics and other material from entering the country. Up until then, China had been the world’s main importer of global waste for nearly 30 years…

Read Full Article; ABC News (11-17-2019)

Is This the End of Recycling? The Atlantic (03-05-2019)
Americans are consuming more and more stuff. Now that other countries won’t take our papers and plastics, they’re ending up in the trash…

More Recycling Won’t Solve Plastic Pollution; Scientific American (07-06-2018)
Encouraging individuals to recycle more will never solve the problem of a massive production of single-use plastic that should have been avoided in the first place…

Only 14% of plastics are recycled – can tech innovation tackle the rest? Guardian UK (02-22-2017)
Billions of pounds of plastic waste are littering the world’s oceans. Now, an organic chemist and a sailboat captain report that they are developing a process to reuse certain plastics, transforming them from worthless trash into a valuable diesel fuel with a small mobile reactor that could operate on land or at sea…

Scientists calculate impact of China’s ban on plastic waste imports; Science Daily (06-20-2018)
Scientists have calculated the potential global impact of China’s ban on plastic waste imports and how this policy might affect efforts to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering the world’s landfills and natural environment…

With China’s Ban on Waste Imports, Europe Announces New Recycling Initiatives; Yale E360 (01-16-2018)
In the wake of China’s ban on the import of foreign garbage, which took effect earlier this month, countries across the globe are scrambling to figure out what to do with the thousands of tons of trash piling up at their ports. Now, Europe has announced it is launching an aggressive new recycling initiative to reduce plastic waste and garbage exports…

Ocean Oddities: Pacific’s Plastic Island; Surfline (06-06-2017)
Ever since people invented trash, the sea has served as our favorite dump…

More than 8. 3 billion tons of plastics made: Most has now been discarded; Science Daily (07-19-2017)
Humans have created 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics since large-scale production of the synthetic materials began in the early 1950s, and most of it now resides in landfills or the natural environment, according to a study.

Biodegradable plastic ‘false solution’ for ocean waste problem; Guardian UK (05-23-2016)

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…