The world’s largest cities are in coastal areas. Studies show that more and more people are moving to these densely populated areas in search of job opportunities and a better life for their families.
These large cities require a constant supply of resources, and the upkeep of societies can put a lot of strain on the environment. Here are a few major environmental challenges that coastal cities need to deal with.
1. Runoff and Waste Discharge
The industrial areas produce a lot of runoff that ends up in rivers and eventually the ocean. Cities require wastewater treatment plants, but a lot of human waste still ends up polluting the groundwater or rivers.
2. The Effect of Climate Change
The dangers of climate change have become more apparent in recent years. The changing climate affects marine life and society. Climate change has already caused irreparable damage to coral reefs around the world.
3. Overfishing and Trawling
Unregulated fishing can lead to major disruptions in the biodiversity of marine life. Trawling can damage coral reefs, and unsustainable fishing can lead to the destruction of coastal ecosystems.
4. Building Projects Causing Coastal Erosion
Construction projects along the coast can produce a lot of waste, and much of it ends up in the ocean. Building foundations can also disrupt the natural flow of water on the land – leading to soil erosion.
5. Constructing Artificial Islands
Major economies such as Dubai have in recent years undertaken several projects to reclaim land by constructing artificial islands. Yet, these islands can disrupt marine life and habitats on the ocean floor.
6. Unregulated Petroleum Extraction
Oil rigs have the potential to do a lot of harm to marine life, as oil spills and unregulated extractions can lead to polluting the ocean water. Governments and organisations need to ensure that these activities are monitored.
7. Fertilisers and Harmful Algal Blooms
When people living along the coast use fertiliser, this tends to runoff into rivers and eventually ends up in the ocean. The excess fertilisers lead to nutrient pollution and algal blooms that destroy ocean life.
Many organisations and initiatives try to combat these threats to the environment in coastal areas. Yet, everyone can do their part to protect beaches and marine life by reducing their carbon footprint.