Development infrastructure systems in coastal areas can have a wide range of environmental impacts. Sewage disposal is one of the greatest problems associated with any type of tourism infrastructure development. Outfalls in bays (often untreated or having gone only secondary treatment) can threaten recreational and shellfish waters. In addition, the large amounts of nutrients released may cause harmful blooms and lead to oxygen depletion. Listed below is a summary of some of these impacts:
- Eutrophication of coastal waters and estuaries
- Reduction in species diversity
- Erosion and siltation from land increasing turbidity in coastal waters. Tourism in the coastal zone contributes to increases in sediment loads for both back bay and shore areas, from construction, access and transport systems (especially dirt roads and some ferry activities), facility operations, and run off. Heavy rains typical of many tropical locations make sedimentation problems even more of a case for concern.
- Ground and surface water pollution.
- Noise pollution, air pollution and dust pollution Roads, airports, bridges and other transportation infrastructure can create special problems if carelessly planned. Their location and structure should be carefully designed in accordance with conservation guidelines and should guarantee minimal impact.
Picture courtesy of Topenham.Infrastructure development can be broken down in "major" earth changes such as bulkheading, construction and maintenance of jetties, groins, piers and wharves, dredging and spoil disposal. Infrastructire devlopment requiring more "minor" physical alterations include sand removal, destruction of mangroves and salt ponds, anchoring damage to corals and sea grass beds, and other coral destruction. The cumulative effects of minor alterations can obviously be extreme. Physical alterations are generally thought to increase susceptibility to natural hazards. The installation of a seawall at a guest house in Long Bay Tortola, changed local wave and transport dynamics and caused scouring to a major recreational beach. Although common, impacts from inappropriate physical changes can be mitigated to some extent by known improvements in construction practice, engineering, architecture, and design processes, and by known improvements in public sector planning, control and monitoring. Examples include the Barbados Coastal Zone Management Unit, or the St. Lucia Northwest Coastal Zone Project, which were designed to correct physical changes from ill planned tourism development projects.
printed on 2013/05/22 02:28:46