Beach erosion occurs when waves and currents remove sand from the beach system. The loss of sand causes the beach to become narrower and lower in elevation. Storm waves carry the sand offshore, depositing and storing the sediment in large sandbars. Technically, constructing breakwaters along Negril’s seven miles beach, which has been undergoing dramatic rates of erosion for years, will create implications for the existing reefs in the coastal region.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Hon Dr Andrew Wheatley stated that the people of Negril should be the primary forces of influence on the decision-making process, particularly the stakeholders in Negril’s vibrant tourism industry who have suggested that a breakwater mechanism will not only have a negative impact on the environment and aesthetics in Negril, but on tourism activities as well. From the JLP News report, he further outlined the main areas of concern to be:
- “The absence of an Economic Impact study into the effects of pursuing the highly technical and disruptive project that the Government says will run for nine months.
- An incomplete Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
- The lack of genuine consultation by the Government with Negril stakeholders, including Hoteliers, and an apparent gross lack of concern for the very serious issues raised by them in the public domain.”
Here, we should understand the spatial and temporal conditions of the sea such as the sea currents and waves, before and after. Since the construction of the breakwaters are subjective to cause great implications for creating ‘appropriate’ sea conditions. This will eventually cause bad sea conditions considering the impact on the physical and biological marine conditions. Sediments including beach sand are deposited in different ways based on the current flow, that is, due to the change in current and wave conditions. It can be concluded that a proper assessment is needed so that we can understand and predict the coastal oceanic conditions, or we should at least reference other coastal developments based on the sensitivity of the coastal environment.
Figure 3 highlights the coastal erosion of a section of the Negril seven-mile beach.