Have you ever stood on a beach and asked yourself where all the sand went?
Coastal erosion is a growing concern around Europe. The removal of soil and sand by wind, water and human action has left several European coastal areas defenceless against flooding and high tides or extremely high tides, threatening human and marine life.
While it’s a natural process, coastal erosion can be quickened by the construction of hard infrastructure like ports and defensive embankments. On the Romanian coast, the entire southern sector of beaches and coastline have been acutely eroded by the construction of ports as well as dams along the Danube to the Black Sea. This has led to the deterioration of “sediment transport,” which is the natural movement of sand and gravel by the water. It’s a huge environmental risk, because it can result in significant changes in the morphology of the coastline in the Black Sea which is accelerated by the increased frequency of coastal flooding and storm surges due to climate change.
“The coastal erosion in the Constanta County didn’t happen overnight,” says Aimilia Pistrika, a Senior Water Engineer working at the European Investment Bank, which is lending €97 million for co-financing a project together with the European Commission to protect the Romanian Black Sea coast from erosion and floods. “By restoring the beaches, we’re improving the coast’s natural ability to defend against extreme tides and storms.”