Barbados Battles Beach Erosion by Desmond L. Brown
Faced with the prospect of losing miles of beautiful white beaches – and the millions in tourist dollars that come with them – from erosion driven by climate change, Barbados is taking steps to protect its coastline as a matter of economic survival.
“We need to be able to preserve those beaches. We need to be able to preserve our coral reefs. We need to preserve the marine life of our country, which is part of what tourists come to the Caribbean for,” Sir Ronald Sanders, a former regional diplomat, told IPS.
“All of those things are now, even as we speak, being eroded, and sitting back and doing nothing about it is not in our interest,” he said.
“If there is continuous erosion of the beaches, that is the very thing that you are selling worldwide. You are saying ‘we have great beaches, come and enjoy them and pay for the privilege’, but if you have no beaches, what are you selling?” Sanders added.
Tourism is one of the largest industries in the world, with an estimated 500 million people spending billions of dollars on tourism-related services annually. In addition, the industry employs more than 100 million people worldwide.
Tourism accounts for 15 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Barbados, with the beaches playing a significant role.
Foreign Affairs Minister Maxine McLean stresses that Barbados has not been spared the effects of climate change.
“There is no greater threat to the survival, viability and security of Barbados than the threat posed by climate change,” she said.
And Barbados is not alone. Sanders said almost every Caribbean country is selling the same thing. He is proposing a united approach. (DATA COURTESY IPS-NEWS, REST OF STORY IS HERE)