Saving Our Shores
Imagine that you are holidaying with your family in the coastal town of Daman. Breaking away from the mundane city life, you head to the beach to swim in the sea and sunbathe on the beach. But what greets you there leaves you stunned and shocked. The beach has disappeared, and the coastal road pavement is damaged. The euphoria of spending fun time with your family evaporates.
This is actually happening to our beaches as climate change is disrupting the natural rhythm of our environment. A substantial proportion of the world’s sandy coastline is eroding and could result in the near extinction of almost half of the world’s sandy beaches by the end of the century, says a study by the European Commission, ‘Sandy coastlines under threat of erosion’.
The study sounds an alarm because erosion is eating into our coastal land. India has lost over 3,680 hectares of land in the last 10 years, as per a study by the Indian Space Research Organisation. We are losing acres and acres of land due to coastal erosion caused by natural occurrences like sea level rise and wave energy and human activities. Most unsafe are those living in these areas because they are not only losing their land but there is a danger to their lives as well. Besides, erosion is also taking a toll on local plant and animal species.
However, efforts are being made to restore beaches by replenishing sediments because the deficit of sediments is the main cause for erosion. Beach nourishment is one of the methods that involves adding sand or other sediments to beaches to increase their volume and protect them from erosion. This process can also benefit the coastal and marine ecosystem by giving plants and animals new habitats.
Adani Ports conducts this exercise as and when required and the communities are also involved in some cases, as with Yarada beach near Gangavaram port. The ports team takes up beach nourishment work as part of its initiative towards the development of community infrastructure. The company conducts regular cleaning activities at the beach.
This technique has several benefits, such as protecting buildings and infrastructure from wave attacks, improving beaches for recreation, creating new natural environments, eliminating the detrimental effects of shore protection structures, and retaining sediment volumes during rise in sea levels.
However, it is important to note that beach nourishments must be regularly inspected and replenished to retain their effectiveness when it comes to flood prevention. Despite this, beach nourishment is still a useful technique in coastal management due to its capacity to develop and restore natural habitats while providing essential protection against erosion and flooding. Sandy beaches are too important to be ignored. Just as we keep adding to our deposits of money in our bank accounts over time to secure our future against unforeseen crises, we need to replenish sediments on eroding beaches to build strong shorelines that can subsist and survive in the face of any catastrophe.