Environmentalist John Mussington is warning that extreme beach erosion due to sea-swell activities will continue – if counter measures are not put in place immediately.
Sea swells have occurred very frequently in recent months and, in December last year, there was a major event that caused massive beach erosion at Fort James Beach.
Subsequently, meteorologist Dale Destin said he had not seen such significant erosion of that beach in at least the last 10 years.
This past Sunday, the MET Office placed Antigua and Barbuda under a High Surf Advisory for two days, ending on Tuesday, January 31. Those swells had the capacity to cause beach erosion, the MET warned.
Mussington says he is not surprised at the level of damage being caused by major sea activity. This is due to the current climate crisis, which is causing sea levels to rise and storm surges to become stronger.
He explains that ground swells are waves generated from a storm that is happening elsewhere, and there are certain times of the year when waves from storms in the northern hemisphere will reach our shores.
Mussington remembers that, in 2011, there was such an event, which impacted the Eastern Caribbean and caused severe flooding in Barbuda.
Meanwhile, he warns that the erosion which took place at Fort James will be replicated in other coastal areas around the island in the future.
According to Mussington, the ground-swell events illustrate the value of having beaches, since the sand, during these events, is washed offshore. Therefore, it makes the water in that area rather shallow, causing the waves to break out in that area rather than on the shoreline.
He says this is the protective mechanism that a beach offers and, therefore, governments should avoid building near the coastline and destroying this natural defense.
Mussington says there is still hope for the country’s shorelines; but, in order to mitigate further damage, persons will have to stop building properties on the beaches.
The environmentalist says that tourism and the fisheries sector, among others, can be seriously impacted if we continue to destroy our beaches, allowing these types of events to occur as a result of climate change.