Tuesday, August 28, 2012

More than 400 Cuban beaches affected by erosion

More than 400 Cuban beaches affected by erosion
Published August 27, 2012

A total of 413 Cuban beaches show some signs of erosion, with the
coastline retreating at an estimated rate of 1.2 meters (3 feet 11
inches) per year, according to a recent scientific study released Monday
by official media.

Scientists from more than a dozen institutions took part in a long-term
study of potential coastal vulnerability with a view toward the years
2050 and 2100, which forecast the situation at beaches including those
at the Varadero resort, the most famous on the Caribbean island, an
article in the Communist Party daily Granma said.

The head of the Coastal Processes Department of the Oceanology
Institute, Jose Luis Juanes, said that in many cases the determining
cause of erosion may be described as unhelpful human activities.

Erosion is seen today at around 84 percent of the beaches from one end
of Cuba to the other.

Among the types of human intervention that cause erosion, the researcher
noted the removal of sand for different uses, the incorrect location of
docks and breakwaters at the entrance to canals, as well as construction
on areas of natural sand dunes.

Another factor contributing to this eating away of beaches is the impact
of storm surges during extreme weather events.

In that sense he noted that the studies carried out show how, during
powerful hurricanes, coastal flooding begins to swallow up the dunes at
several points.

He said that this process causes sand to be shifted to interior lagoons
and as a result leaves the coastline with significant structural changes.

The article also said that solutions applied to protect the coastline
include the replacement of sand, and as an example cited the case of
Varadero, where since 1987 some 2.9 million cubic meters (102 million
cubic feet) of sand have been deposited on different stretches along its
20 kilometers (12 miles) of beaches. EFE


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