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

Ban Fails To Prevent Illegal Sand Mining, Kerala State, India

Alappuzha
News, Sand Mining
Oct
19

Despite the police ban on the sand mining at Andhakaranazhi beach, local people are still illegally collecting sand from the beach, which is a famed tourist destination of Alappuzha.

No comments

The Mysterious Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand

moeracki-boulders-sunset
Celebrate, Inform
Oct
19

The Māoris explained the presence of almost perfectly spherical boulders on Koekohe Beach, on the South island of New Zealand, as eel baskets washed up from an enormous, sunken canoe. But the science behind these up to three metres high perfectly rounded boulders rocks is much stranger.

No comments

Tiny Island Offers Tremendous Sights

anglesey
Celebrate, Inform
Oct
18

Photographer illustrates the stunning range of colors and textures found along the shores of Anglesey, Wales.

No comments

Oil Spills Becoming Frequent Hazard for Fishermen Near Mumbai

fisherman-india
News, Pollution
Oct
17

Local fishermen called on officials to take serious action to halt the recurrent oil spills plaguing the Uran shoreline, because of the profound detrimental impacts they have on fishstocks, coastal ecosystems, fishermen and other communities that depend on the sea for their livelihood.

No comments

Climate Shocks Will Hurt Poverty Targets

port-au-prince-post-Ike-hurricane

As climatic shocks worsen, disaster-affected populations will be driven deeper into poverty, exacerbating their vulnerability, in as soon as two decades – unless policymakers start to address the issue now.

No comments

Mysteries of Giant Fish, Loch Ness and Sea Serpents

loch-ness-castle

The recent discovery of a monstrous fish off the Southern California coast has people buzzing. Photos of people holding a long piscine monster have spread around the Internet; there are of course many fake “big fish” photos floating around, but this one is not a Photoshop job, nor a hoax.

No comments

Without Plants, Earth Would Cook Under Billions of Tons of Additional Carbon

feuille-verte

Enhanced growth of Earth’s leafy greens during the 20th century has significantly slowed the planet’s transition to being red-hot, according to the first study to specify the extent to which plants have prevented climate change since pre-industrial times.

No comments

Illegal Oil Refinery In The Niger Delta, A Video

nigerian-coast-oil
News, Pollution
Oct
16

Every day 40,000 barrels of crude oil are stolen and refined in the Niger Delta. This rare footage shows some of the devastation and danger that the illegal refineries cause.

No comments

No Safe Havens in Increasingly Acid Oceans

ocean

Oil, gas and coal are contaminating the world’s oceans from top to bottom, threatening the lives of more than 800 million people, a new study warns.

No comments

Recent / Inform

Changing Climate May Have Driven Collapse of Civilizations in Late Bronze Age

cyprus-coastline

August 15th, 2013

Climate change may have driven the collapse of once-flourishing Eastern Mediterranean civilizations towards the end of the 13th century BC.

Read More

Scientists Have a Moral Obligation to Take Action on Climate Change

nihi

August 15th, 2013

Scientists and technologists are paving the way for an age of safe energy. The clean energy revolution brings together science, design, social enterprise and the aspirations of the estimated 1.4bn or 1.6bn people who could be lifted out of energy poverty by solar power.

Read More

Years Of Illegal Sand Mining Take Its Toll On Tuticorin Coast, South Eastern India

sand-workers-india

August 13th, 2013

People from Viapar, a coastal village in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin district, say they have never seen sea waves reach so close to their homes. Several neighbouring villages echo the same story as years of illegal mining have led to heavy beach erosion across the region.

Read More

Hurricane Sandy Raised Risk Awareness in Eastern Cuba

santiago-cuba

August 13th, 2013

Nine months after Hurricane Sandy, the worst disaster to hit this city in eastern Cuban in decades, local residents say they are now better prepared for catastrophes. According to the authorities, every new building must take into account the risk of hurricanes and earthquakes.

Read More

Photographer Captures Waves of Trash in Indonesia

wave-indonesia

August 12th, 2013

Waves for days. Trash for eternity. That’s what photographer Zak Noyle discovered on a recent trip to Java, Indonesia. The waves of Java, always known for being pristine and barreling, were now rolling swells of disgusting trash and debris…

Read More

Waste To Waves

foam

August 11th, 2013

The creation of one standard surfboard produces nearly 600 pounds of CO2. In 2012, determined to find a solution to this, Michael Stewart and Kevin Whilden cofounded Waste to Waves and challenged surfers to help cut that footprint in half.

Read More

U.S. Declares Unusual Mortality Event As Dolphin Deaths Rise

dauphins

August 9th, 2013

Federal scientists investigating an unusually high number of dead bottlenose dolphins washing up on the East Coast said the carcasses are showing up at a rate that is seven times higher than usual.

Read More

California Offshore Fracking Prompts Request For Investigation

california-coast-sunset

August 9th, 2013

A group of state lawmakers has asked the federal government to investigate hydraulic fracturing off the California coast where new oil leases have been banned since a disastrous oil spill in 1969.

Read More

Ocean Revealed

ocean-nasa

August 9th, 2013

When astronauts first left this planet and looked back from space, they discovered that the ocean surface was covered with unsuspected and unexplained patterns.

Read More

NOAA Report Highlights Climate Change Threats To Nation’s Estuaries

tijuana-river-estuary

August 8th, 2013

The nation’s 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERR) are experiencing the negative effects of human and climate-related stressors. Almost 40 percent of all Americans, or about 123 million people, live in the counties directly along the shoreline and depend on these resources for food, jobs, storm protection, and recreation.

Read More


You do not have the Flash plugin installed, or your browser does not support Javascript (you should enable it, perhaps?)


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