Why are Tunisia’s beaches disappearing and what does it mean for the country? – Reuters

Fishing Boats in the Old Hammamat - Tunisia (by Ghassan Tabet CC BY-NC 2.0 via Flickr).

Rising sea levels are causing Tunisia’s beaches to gradually disappear. This is making life hard for the country’s tourism and fishing industries.

The Maghreb – made up of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya – is more affected by coastal erosion than any region outside South Asia, the World Bank found in a 2021 study.

Among these countries, Tunisia has had the highest erosion rates in the last three decades, averaging almost 70cm a year, it found.

At least 85 percent of Tunisia’s population of more than 12 million lives by the coast. This is more than double the global average of about 40 percent, according to the World Bank.

As a result, the country is disproportionately affected by coastal erosion. So, why is it happening and what impact is it having on local communities?

Rising sea levels, primarily caused by global warming-induced ice melt and rising water temperatures, are one of the main culprits for coastal erosion. As Tunisian beaches are eroded, fishermen in the coastal town of Ghannouch say their boats and nets are increasingly getting damaged by rocks as they go out to sea.

“The beach sand is significantly reduced and rocks are appearing there instead,” says Mohamed Ali, 39, a fisherman in the town, located about 400 km south of Tunis.

“I had my boat damaged several times. It is becoming difficult to go to the sea and fish,” the father-of-four adds.

Ali says he makes about $300 (€283) per month fishing, but his income is 20 per cent lower than in previous years before coastal erosion became a major factor. He is one of about 600 fishermen in Ghannouch.

Sassi Alaya, the head of the fisheries guild in the town’s southern port, says that half of the local fishermen have been affected along the most eroded areas of the coastline.

Nearly half of Tunisia’s 670 km of beaches were acutely threatened by coastal erosion as of 2020 – a figure that has more than tripled since 1995 – according to the Tunisian State Agency for Coastal Protection and Planning (APAL).

On the island of Djerba – about 110 km south of Ghannouch – 52-year-old fisherman Al-Akhdar Ahmed says his income has halved over the last decade due to the shrinking beaches. He now earns just $250 (€236) a month from fishing.

“Rocks are now surrounding about 18 kilometres of the coast of the island, destroying the livelihoods of hundreds of fishermen there,” he says…

Grains of Sand: Too Much and Never Enough – EOS Magazine

Sand dunes in Kernel - Sydney, Australia (by Bea Pierce CC BY-NC 2.0 via Flickr).

Sand is a foundational element of our cities, our homes, our landscapes and seascapes. How we will interact with the material in the future, however, is less certain…

“The use of sand is now faced with two major challenges,” said Xiaoyang Zhong, a doctoral student in environmental science at Leiden University in the Netherlands. “One is that it has caused enormous consequences in the environment,” he explained. “The second challenge is that easily usable sand resources are running out in many regions…”

Starving the Mekong – Reuters

Mekong Basin (by Shannon1, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons).

Lives are remade as dams built by China upstream deprive the Mekong River Delta of precious sediment

Standing on the bank of the Mekong River, Tran Van Cung can see his rice farm wash away before his very eyes. The paddy’s edge is crumbling into the delta.

Just 15 years ago, Southeast Asia’s longest river carried some 143 million tonnes of sediment – as heavy as about 430 Empire State Buildings – through to the Mekong River Delta every year, dumping nutrients along riverbanks essential to keeping tens of thousands of farms like Cung’s intact and productive…

Florida beaches were already running low on sand. Then Ian and Nicole hit – the Washington Post

Daytona Beach, 20022 (by Jim Allen CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Fliickr)

“I think we’re starting to discover that, despite our best efforts and wanting to throw as much money at this as possible, it has become very difficult to keep these beaches as wide as we would like to keep them,” Robert S. Young, a geology professor at Western Carolina University and director of the Program for Developed Shorelines… “We simply don’t have the capacity to hold all of these beaches in place.”

Half of the beaches on the Costa del Sol are at serious risk of sand loss – SUR

Plaża w Benalmadenie na Costa del Sol (Photo: Beata77, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia)

The loss of sand is a “serious risk” for half of the beaches in Malaga province, while another 40% are at “moderate risk” and 5% at slight risk, according to a report on the Strategy for the Protection of the Malaga Coast which the Secretary of State for the Environment, Hugo Morán, presented to mayors and councilors in Malaga on Tuesday morning…