Billions of tonnes of sediment are clogging up the world’s coastal zones, rivers and estuaries with devastating results to the environment, say scientists attending an international meeting organised by the Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone (LOICZ) project, a global network of coastal and marine scientists.
Nutrient-laden mud, gravel and sand, pushed downstream by large rivers and estuaries, are changing the shape of coastlines, destroying aquatic life and even filling up parts of shallow continental shelves, they say.
Ironically, a seemingly opposite problem is also occurring in many regions. Damming of rivers is causing a loss of an estimated 1.4 billion tonnes of sediment that never make it to the coast. This results in a shortage of nutrient supply to the coast and severe erosion. An average of 1 dam higher than 15 m is built daily and large rivers are “managed” to extremes with almost no net run-off to the sea. These result in declines in fisheries and increased sediment-related risks for coastal cities.
Don Alcock | alfa
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