Coastline Erosion

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Coastline Erosion

A Problem Throughout the World, of Concern to All


Hurricane Florence: The Conversation Magazine


I am still on the subject of erosion because it is such an important factor in climate change. The policies needed, engineering skills, alternatives and costs are all considerations. The problem of erosion is seen everywhere around the world’s coastlines and on land. This article will focus on coastal erosion.

Sea walls, groynes, revetments, and landscapes/ green-scaping with plants are in use to hold water back. With climate change, water levels are rising and decisions are required for temporary, as well as, long-term solutions.In the future, when the sea can no longer be held back, erosion will be allowed to take place naturally. There will be lost coastline areas that are in extensive use at the moment.

In Norfolk, UK, engineers using landscaping of 1.8 cubic metres of sand adding to beach areas. This is designed to increase the resilience of the adjacent cliffs to erosion. Unprotected, cliffs erode at a rate of a metre a year. Currently, groynes are in use. During extreme storms, 5 metres to 10 metres of the cliff can be lost overnight.

In this area, is the Bacton gas terminal. It is only 15 metres from the plant to the cliff's edge. There are often hard rock strengthed groynes which hold back the water.


Hard Rock Goyne in Ghana, complements of the Conversation Magazine


istory tells us this can actually increase erosion on the adjacent coast. Sand gets trapped between groynes and cannot move to offer protection elsewhere. The alternative is to nourish beaches with extra sand or shingle, but these are only short-term solutions.

Besides protecting the gas terminal, it will protect 100 homes, and a coastal road, where tourism may be possible. These factors apply to many coastal areas, where fishing peers, industry, tourism, and homes are located.

In Trimmingham, nearby, the government plans to roll-back homes, businesses from the shoreline, but the long-term plan of 40–90 years is to defunct defences and allow the coast to erode naturally.

In the Netherlands, there was a similar situation, with Zand Motor, close to “The Hague”. Sand landscaping has created a new 1km by 2 km beach. It has become a place for recreation such as or kite surfing.


Zand Motor beach, complements of the Conversation Magazine




In Ghana, there is 550 km of coastline. There has been a 7 % economic growth, but now Ghana is dealing with coastline erosion that effects heritage sites, natural landing sites of the fishermen and nesting sites of endangered marine turtles, as well as the hindrance of the industry which includes oil and gas production, port operations, thermal electricity generation, coastal agriculture, and hydroelectricity generation.

The coastline areas are divided into 3 sections, the eastern coast is the most vulnerable to erosion since to Akasombo dam was constructed. There are oil and gas in the west section. People seeking jobs have increased migration; creating more housing development in the area.

The erosion on the Ghana-Togo border is increased by 50%, says Kwai Addo, Lecturer in Marine and Fisheries Sciences, University of Ghana. An integrated approach is needed using a green concept of managing “with nature” and not “ against it.”



In the US, Hurricane Florence, forced more than a million people on the East Coast to flee from their homes. For an increasing number of people, coastal flooding and erosion is a real threat to the property, the local economy and in some cases, life.

We have changed the environment in ways that increase coastal flooding and erosion risk. Public policies have not been very effective in managing this predicament.




Traditional hard engineering such as groynes, revetments, and sea walls, do not work long-term.



Sand beaches will eventually break down. The engineering such as beach nourishment can be used as well as raising foundations, putting in sustainable drainage systems, and building codes that would do more for disaster preparedness.



In Ault, France the decision was made to disallow new construction, and restrict improvements on the existing 240 houses.

Some hard decisions will have to be made, with community involvement, to solve these problems in a timely and cost-effective manner.



Shirley Langton 2020


Submitted: June 18, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Shirley M. Langton. All rights reserved.

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