Coastal erosion in SVG is real

By Richardeen Williams. Updated 10:01 p.m., Saturday, December 31, 2022, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

Feature photo: Lance Neverson.

“But the sea which no one tends is also a garden.” These are the wise words of Carlos Williams, a poet and doctor. The Ocean is described to be an open body of mass which holds approximately over 1.3 billion cubic km of water. The salty, musky or clear water can get its color through various ways whether sediments interact with light, pollution, natural disasters or the lack of phytoplankton, or algae.

The Caribbean is a region that is near to the equator which makes the place relatively hot however the waters are very much warm making it a place for rare animals and beaches. In 2019 it was recorded that 32.0 million tourists came to the Caribbean. Despite the vast variety of cultures the sea is an imagery that markets visitors to the Caribbean . The value of the shore is beyond some of the finest jewels. It’s used for recreation, food, transportation and even holistic activities. It is even a breeding ground for rare animals however due to climate change these natural habitats are liable to severe damage.

Over the past few years the climate in the Caribbean has been fluctuating due to change in weather patterns. The increase of sea levels due to ice melting in the Antarctic , increase in rain, irregularity of hurricanes and winds which cause heavy waves in curl action to wash away sentiments from the shore line. Although mitigation methods are implemented these damages are exceeding at a dangerous rate.

National countries that are developed contribute heavily to climate change and global warming through greenhouse gas emission and carbon dioxide emissions. These countries might fund mitigation methods however damages outweigh the preventative and curable methods. The Caribbean islands are not excluded from cause of the damages such as digging the coast to place on other lands. However most of the damages occurs from developed countries and their irresponsibility of taken “Green methods” in comparison to greenhouse emission.

Citizens and governments are urged to take care of their environment and make ethical judgments; however , could it be Racism, class division, or lack of care for human rights? Why do the Caribbean suffer so much the answers or not blatant in words but we can conclude from such actions embedded.

Consequently citizens and governments may argue for a short period of time against such actions however it usually go over the heads
Of capitalist . These consequences may not hurt the economy to where it cripples immediately but over years generations tend to see drastic changes through our eating habits, living conditions and tourism which has strong ties in the increasing of income in St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

In St.Vincent it is reported that beaches such as Sion Hill Bay, sand whistle bay in Mayreau and Villa have been eroding. A popular beach “Indian bay” which has been an open area for families to spread blankets and have a pleasurable beach day has now detoured to a shore that is hardly accessible without water touching your feet. This is detrimental not only to families but also business places. It is detrimental to their business because they are forced to find ways in which they can prevent these circumstances which is a waste of money if bigger countries don’t take responsibility for such actions.

In 2021 the government finished the construction of a sea defense in Caratal Georgetown where 26 million dollars was spent to control the damage of approximately 60 meters in 40 years. Then in 2022 the initiative was taken up to build a sea defense in “salt whistle bay” Mayreau. In St.Vincent and the Grenadines a ban was placed so that citizens would not kill Scaridie (Parrot fish) since it deposits an estimate of 90 kilometers of sand a year from its stool. All of these were measurements put in place to avert and reverse the damages caused by sea erosion.

A video shows the detouring of the shore.
A photo showing that the water is touching the walls of a business place and home the of the walls of a business place. In about a few years the water will slowly wash away the walls which can be costly and unsafe for the business and home.

One news had an interview with someone whom would prefer to stay anonymous from the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation,
Sustainable Development and Culture Anonymous who shared some insight on what the government is doing to prevent soil erosion

“The Sustainable Unit within the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Sustainable Development and Culture will be implementing a couple projects that will directly and indirectly better manage our
coastal environment.The National Ocean Policy and Strategic Action Plan:The purpose of the Policy is to establish a framework that will guide inter-sectoral planning and development of ocean activities in a rational and sustainable manner
for the social and economic development of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The policy is the basis for effective coordination among all government agencies with responsibility for maritime and ocean affairs and the harmonization of national actions in relation to the marine resources of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.”

She further stated:

“Coastal and marine ecosystems management
strengthening project: component 1 of the project will facilitate the further development of coastal and marine policies and management between key sectors.
Component 2 will use a participatory approach to planning and nature based solutions in selected sites to effectively plan, manage, finance and monitor compliance in target
environmentally sensitive coastal and marine sites.”

The fact still remains that we are not soley responsible for the detouring of our coast however the question to be asked is when will developed countries take responsibility for the effects of climate change in small islands such as St.Vincent and the Grenadines?

This story was published with the support of the Caribbean Climate Justice Journalism Fellowship, which is a joint venture of Climate Tracker and Open Society Foundations.

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