Coastal sand dunes are usual in many parts of the globe. They are formed when wind-blown sands are trapped and stabilized by the vegetation. They are natural structures which offer protection to the coastal environment from destructive forces of storm flood, strong wind and tsunamis.
Activities by human have been seen adding more problems to the coastal sand dunes. These activities may have direct or indirect impact on our changing coastal landscape affecting sources of new sediments on shore and sediment movements in the coastal environment. sediments play a huge role in the ecosystem of rivers and streams. studies have shown that the construction of dams and coastal banks stabilization works disturbed the normal flow of sediments in most water ways. dams have been seen trapping sediments to some extent and most disrupt the flood summits and periodic distribution of flows. this affects the natural and working of the sea.
In an attempt to protect people, property and critical infrastructure from coastal threats such as erosion, waves, storms and tsunamis, as well as people’s effort such as marine diving and navigation, coastal communities have chronological fortified coastlines with different structures.
The intrinsic value of coastal sand dunes has made it so attractive for human habitation the demand for housing and land for recreation and sporting purposes close to the coast are soaring. for instance, horse racing and use of beach buggy known as off road vehicles on sand dunes will compress the sand, damage the vegetation roots and animal shelters.
Statics have shown that almost three-quarter of the global population settles near the coasts. World’s largest cities are located close to the coast. these cities were built within the coastal ports due to opportunities like trade, transportation tourism and jobs provided by ports. these human activities near the coastal environment raised the pressure as the climate changes and also degradation of socio-ecological coastal area.
However, most major stakeholders in the coastal zone management has the mindset of making profit. They knew the policies and conservative laws protecting these dunes and also the consequences. But if the economic gain outweighs the negative impact, they will bend the rules or keep a close eye to it. on the other hand, there has been conflict between the property owners and the local council and conservative organization (NGO’s) on a better management of the sand dune ecosystem.
These impact of human activities should be reduced if a feasible impact assessment should be conducted and submitted, the state environmental councils, conservation practitioners and other stakeholders that had interest, this is to help checkmate if the project plans is in line with the environmental policies that will not lower diversity and habitat.
Communities should be educated about the coastal dunes and its natural way of management. Conservation and restoration practitioners will not be underestimated. They will be integrated to advocate the environmental policies and also recommend means to reduce these human impacts.
The environmental policy makers and costal managers should take into consideration the ecological impact of human activities like heavy engineering protection when taken decision on people, property and infrastructure protection. also practicing a living shoreline will help minimize costal dune erosion.
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