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A total of 413 Cuban beaches show some signs of erosion, with the coastline retreating at an estimated rate of 1.2 meters (3 feet 11 inches) per year, according to a recent scientific study released Monday by official media.

Scientists from more than a dozen institutions took part in a long-term study of potential coastal vulnerability with a view toward the years 2050 and 2100, which forecast the situation at beaches including those at the Varadero resort, the most famous on the Caribbean island, an article in the Communist Party daily Granma said.

The head of the Coastal Processes Department of the Oceanology Institute, Jose Luis Juanes, said that in many cases the determining cause of erosion may be described as unhelpful human activities.

Erosion is seen today at around 84 percent of the beaches from one end of Cuba to the other.

Among the types of human intervention that cause erosion, the researcher noted the removal of sand for different uses, the incorrect location of docks and breakwaters at the entrance to canals, as well as construction on areas of natural sand dunes.

Another factor contributing to this eating away of beaches is the impact of storm surges during extreme weather events.

In that sense he noted that the studies carried out show how, during powerful hurricanes, coastal flooding begins to swallow up the dunes at several points.

He said that this process causes sand to be shifted to interior lagoons and as a result leaves the coastline with significant structural changes.

The article also said that solutions applied to protect the coastline include the replacement of sand, and as an example cited the case of Varadero, where since 1987 some 2.9 million cubic meters (102 million cubic feet) of sand have been deposited on different stretches along its 20 kilometers (12 miles) of beaches.

Source: Latino

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