The more people on coastal areas, the more pressure they impose both on land and sea. This has resulted in increased domestic and industrial effluent, more areas of landfill and erosion of coastlines due to infrastructure construction and coastal development. Natural landscapes and habitats are altered, overwhelmed and destroyed. Pollution alters life conditions; provokes loss of biodiversity, alteration of food chains and of all marine ecosystems. Lagoons and coastal waters are ‘reclaimed’, reefs are damaged by fishing or tourism, wetlands are drained, the floodplains around estuaries are built over and reduced, mangroves are cut down for wood or aquaculture. Fish stocks, fresh water, soils and beach sands are often overexploited. The consequences are : loss of food resources especially in developing countries ; water access problem ; health problems ; social and economic impact linked to a loss of benefits and employment (fishing industry, tourism, increasing costs of coastal management); etc.
Management and solutions
The sustainable development of coastal areas requires the application of a suite of measures tailored to local, national, and regional circumstances. Coastal and marine problems need comprehensive solutions that take into account social, economic and ecological issues. For example, coastal tourism and population relocation are major contributors to the economic value derived from a nation’s coastal environments and also to growth-related impacts on marine resources. Well managed, it brings many economic, social, and cultural opportunities. Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) offers a framework for integrating environmental, economic, social, cultural and public health interests in the interests of sustainable development. The goal of an ICM strategy is to coordinate all coastal zone uses and activities, in both public and private sectors, according to an agreed-upon set of resource management policies and practices. Without an integrated approach, it can be difficult to effectively manage development.