Coastal Urbanisation

Intenser demands on resources and natural habitats

Coastlines and cities by coastlines are drawing in more people than ever before. Coastal cities have the highest rates of growth than any other areas. It has been calculated that 320 million people shall by living in the world's megacities by 2010.
While the growth of megacities brings with it many economic, social, and cultural opportunities, it can also bring ecological crisis and breakdown in traditional social and cultural patterns of behaviour that, in the past, have sustained less urbanised populations. This has resulted in increased domestic and industrial effluent, more areas of landfill, increased dredging, and the erosion of coastlines and coastal habitats due to infrastructure construction and coastal development. In addition, pollution from upstream and the expansion of aquaculture production at the expense of mangrove forests and other marine ecosystems have further degraded marine and coastal resources.
Coastal ecosystems, which are one of the richest storehouses of marine biodiversity, along roughly half of the world's coasts are threatened by development related activities. 34% of the world's coasts are at high potential risk of degradation, and another 17 percent are at moderate risk. Most of the coastal ecosystems potentially threatened by development are located within northern temperate and northern equatorial zones. Europe, with 86 percent of its coasts at either high or moderate risk, and Asia, with 69 percent of its coasts in these categories, are the regions whose coastal ecosystems are most threatened by degradation.