How to protect beaches from degradation?

The UAE has some of the most beautiful beaches in the region. They feature marine life (dolphins, whales and dugongs are often spotted) and many recreational opportunities for the millions of people who fly into the UAE each year, providing an important source of income to the local economy. However, the beaches along our coastline continually change, and are naturally subject to erosion. Due to waves, currents and man-made structures, the coastal process of sand replenishment is often hindered, resulting in sand erosion.

Beaches are formed from locally available material, either coarse or fine grained sediment, that is always in transit along the shoreline. The primary formation of a beach comes from the longshore current that runs parallel to the shoreline either up-coast or down-coast caused by waves approaching the beach at an angle. When these waves break, they drag the sand grains up and down in a zigzag fashion, finally transporting the sand along the beach.

What can be done to stop beach erosion?

Hard stabilization structures (also called armouring of the shoreline) are structures built to decrease coastal erosion and reduce sand movement. However, some of these structures often result in unwanted outcomes. There are four major types of hard stabilization structures: groins and groin fields, jetties, breakwaters and seawalls. Breakwater structures can result in increased wave erosion, requiring frequent dredging to keep the entire area stable. Other hard structures, such as seawalls, usually built to armour the coastline and protect human developments can be very destructive to the environment. The activity of the waves can undermine the seawall structure, resulting in continuous repair – or worse – collapse.

One alternative can be beach replenishment (also called beach nourishment) – ie. adding sand to the beach compensating the eroded sand. Ecocoast carried out such a project a couple of months ago at The Westin in Dubai. Read more about this project here

Another alternative is the use of Geosynthetic Containers. Geosynthetic Containers are sand-filled geotextile bags or tubes, mainly used as an alternative solution for coastal protection or temporary marine structures. The technology has been used for over 50 years and has proven to be a cost-effective, highly sustainable, easy to install and remove method. Read more about Geosynthetic Containers and regional applications here (Bluewaters, Sir Bani Yas Island, Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort, to name a few).

Beyond beach erosion

The service we offer to our clients covers the whole package to create, protect and maintain a beach. From regular beach cleaning, installation of marinas, floating pontoons, boating and jetski barriers to beach protection, our approach is to look at each property, its clientele and the owner/operator’s needs as a whole to determine the best solution and package to meet those needs.

Our clients are owners and operators of private beach clubs, hotel beaches, marine clubs, marina facilities and private residences. They contract us either on a full service basis to create, protect and maintain their beaches and marina areas, or on a job-by-job basis for specific services.

Interested in knowing more? Call +971.4.8853944 or fill in our contact form.