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May 18, 2023

Erosion Will Get Worse; Sea Level Projected to Rise

The landscape of Belize has been changing over time as several coastal communities are being washed away. We’ve been documenting the erosion happening in Monkey River, Gales Point, Barranco and other areas along the coast.  It is an issue that is expected to get worse as sea level is projected to increase.  Fisherman and tour operator Eworth Garbutt has been leading intervention efforts in Monkey River, similar to what was done at Silk Caye to address the erosion situation there, but is it all in vain? CCCCC (5-Cs) Executive Director Colin Young shares comments on the erosion situation in Belize.


Colin Young

Dr. Colin Young, Executive Director, CCCCC

“We have to do what we can when we can; we cannot just sit by and do nothing. And I think any effort that is done to try to slow what is a continuous process has to be commended. I do believe, however though, that sometimes we have to ensure that we are not doing mal-adaptation that what we are doing is not worsening the situation downwind or down beach of what is being done. But you could never blame people for trying to save their infrastructure to save their beaches, to save land. I think we have to try to see how we can help to ensure that whatever intervention is made is going to be sustainable in the long run. But the truth be told is when we look at the WMO’s projections when we look at the IPCC’s projections of increasing sea level, including in the Caribbean, we will have a serious issue in Belize with erosion. The rule of thumb is that there is a one to one hundred relationship with sea level rise and flooding. So in other words, if sea level rises by an inch, it is going to flood a hundred inches; if it rises by a foot, it’s going to flood a hundred feet of beach. And so Mister Garbutt and others it’s almost like ziziphus; you know, you’re pushing the rock up the hill and the moment you stop it is going to roll back down the hill. But I would like to commend anybody who is trying to stop what is clearly already a big problem and will become a bigger one.”

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