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

Why is Hawaii banning oxybenzone and octinoxate from sunscreens?

News, Pollution
Jul
9

The two ingredients help protect skin from UV rays, but researchers have found that they also cause bleaching, deformities, DNA damage and ultimately death in coral when sunscreen washes off beachgoers or is discharged into wastewater treatment plants and deposited into bodies of water.

Comments Off on Why is Hawaii banning oxybenzone and octinoxate from sunscreens?

Ocean Conservation Is an Untapped Strategy for Fighting Climate Change

The ocean contributes $1.5 trillion annually to the global economy and assures the livelihood of 10-12 percent of the world’s population. But there’s another reason to protect marine ecosystems—they’re crucial for curbing climate change.

Comments Off on Ocean Conservation Is an Untapped Strategy for Fighting Climate Change

Help Save the Vaquita; By NRDC

The vaquita marina is the world’s smallest and most endangered porpoise. They are only found in the northern part of the Gulf of California, a narrow body of water 100 miles south of the U.S. border with Mexico. There are fewer than 30 vaquitas left in the world

Comments Off on Help Save the Vaquita; By NRDC

Bridge Collapse In Mangaluru: Illegal Sand Mining Takes A Very Heavy Toll; India

A bridge built in 1980 has collapsed not due to rain and floods, but due to illegal sand mining. The life of the bridge as prescribed by engineers back in 1980 was 100 years. But thanks to the sand mafia, its life has been cut by 62 years.

Comments Off on Bridge Collapse In Mangaluru: Illegal Sand Mining Takes A Very Heavy Toll; India

Improving seabird conservation in Patagonian ecosystems

Preserving a 300,000 square km area in Patagonian waters could improve the conservation of 20 percent of the population of sea birds in their natural habitat. Marine ecosystems in the Argentinian Patagonia are one of the areas with a larger biodiversity and highest biological production worldwide.

Comments Off on Improving seabird conservation in Patagonian ecosystems

Illegal sand mining re-emerges in Hanoi, Vietnam

Despite last year crack down on sand dredging, illegal sand mining activities have re-started in Phúc Thọ District of Hanoi, causing much public concern.

Comments Off on Illegal sand mining re-emerges in Hanoi, Vietnam

What are businesses doing to turn off the plastic tap?

Faced with the undeniable consequences of a toxic tide of plastic, people around the world are rejecting single-use plastics and pledging to live more sustainably. Governments are acting too: More than 50 countries have signed up to the UN Environment Clean Seas campaign, making this the largest global compact for fighting marine litter.

Comments Off on What are businesses doing to turn off the plastic tap?

Deepwater Horizon disaster altered building blocks of ocean life

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster may have had a lasting impact upon even the smallest organisms in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists have found – amid warnings that the oceans around America are also under fresh assault as a result of environmental policies under Donald Trump.

Comments Off on Deepwater Horizon disaster altered building blocks of ocean life

Invaluable to the medical industry, the horseshoe crab is under threat

The horseshoe crab has survived every period of mass extinction in the last 450-million years, but now faces its greatest threats: wild capture for biomedical testing, together with capture for bait, climate change and habitat destruction. This in turn will detrimentally affect the surrounding ecosystems as well…

Comments Off on Invaluable to the medical industry, the horseshoe crab is under threat

Recent / Inform

Deepwater Horizon disaster altered building blocks of ocean life

July 5th, 2018

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster may have had a lasting impact upon even the smallest organisms in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists have found – amid warnings that the oceans around America are also under fresh assault as a result of environmental policies under Donald Trump.

Read More

Invaluable to the medical industry, the horseshoe crab is under threat

July 5th, 2018

The horseshoe crab has survived every period of mass extinction in the last 450-million years, but now faces its greatest threats: wild capture for biomedical testing, together with capture for bait, climate change and habitat destruction. This in turn will detrimentally affect the surrounding ecosystems as well…

Read More

As North Sea Oil Wanes, Removing Abandoned Rigs Stirs Controversy

July 4th, 2018

With thousands of North Sea oil wells soon to be shut down, ecologists are warning that removing the gargantuan platforms could be more environmentally harmful than leaving them in place. The rigs, it turns out, have nurtured cold-water corals and other marine life.

Read More

How Eating Seaweed Can Help Cows to Belch Less Methane

July 3rd, 2018

Emissions from the nearly 1.5 billion cattle on earth are a major source of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Now, researchers in California and elsewhere are experimenting with seaweed as a dietary additive. Farmers in ancient Greece and 18th-century Iceland deliberately grazed their cows on beaches.

Read More

Rising sea levels could cost the world $14 trillion a year by 2100

July 3rd, 2018

Failure to meet the United Nations’ 2ºC warming limits will lead to sea level rise and dire global economic consequences, new research has warned. A study found flooding from rising sea levels could cost $14 trillion worldwide annually by 2100, if the target of holding global temperatures below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels is missed.

Read More

Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger

July 2nd, 2018

Unesco, the world body’s educational, scientific and cultural agency, said its heritage committee voted Tuesday to remove the reef from its list of threatened sites because it no longer faced immediate danger from development.

Read More

Marine mammals most at risk from increased Arctic ship traffic

July 2nd, 2018

The first comprehensive survey of Arctic marine mammal populations’ vulnerability to shipping along two main routes finds which face the most risks from heavier traffic in the region.

Read More

Riddle of the sands: the truth behind stolen beaches and dredged islands

July 1st, 2018

The insatiable demand of the global building boom has unleashed an illegal market in sand. Gangs are now stealing pristine beaches to order and paradise islands are being dredged and sold to the construction industry.

Read More

10,000 Pounds of Ocean Plastic Is Turned Into a Leaping 38-Foot-Tall Whale

June 30th, 2018

In response to the estimated 150 million tons of plastic trash currently in the ocean, Brooklyn-based architecture and design firm StudioKCA has created an incredible installation for the Bruges Triennial. Skyscraper (the Bruges Whale) is a 38-foot-tall whale fabricated from 5 tons of plastic waste found from the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans.

Read More

China just handed the World a 111-million-ton trash problem

June 25th, 2018

The world’s biggest waste importer is no longer buying. So where’s all that trash going to go?

Read More


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