Mount Lavinia beach project a futile exercise, researchers say

Mount Lavinia beach project a futile exercise, researchers say

Mount Lavinia beach project a futile exercise, researchers say

Written by Staff Writer

04 Jun, 2020 | 10:12 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st): The 110 million rupees worth Mount Lavinia beach nourishment project has “no tangible outcomes”, researchers said.

The coast conservation authority recently said it had filled sand along the five-kilometre beach stretch to prevent coastal erosion taking place while critics cited it as a wastage of funds.

The Coast conservation also said that sand pumped to the Mount Lavinia beach has not been washed away and there has been no public money wastage. The sand is spread over the edge of the Mt. Lavinia coast, creating a beach to the north.

A report compiled by researchers Professor Charitha Pattiaratchi of the University of Western Australia, Marine Biologist Asha de Vos and Nadiya Azmy of Oceanswell, Sri Lanka Marine Research & Education said that erosion takes place in the beach during the south-west monsoonal season from May to September and is a natural phenomenon.

They explained that “rocks and boulders”, a “shallow reef parallel to the coast”, and a “headland” – a piece of land sticking out into the sea, protect the sand across the entire beach.

“It is clear that no erosion is occurring over this stretch of the coastline,” the researchers observed.

The coast conservation authority recently said that 150,000-meter cubes of sand had been dredged from Ratmalana, and placed five kilometres off from Mount Lavinia to create a 15-meter wide beach in Wellawatte.

Officials said that they had adopted the sand engine method which relies on sea waves, wind and ocean currents to move sand along the coast.

“Our analysis identified several natural and man-made barriers for northward sand transport between Mount Lavinia and Wellawatte,” the report showed.

The researchers raised queries over the calculations involved in filling sand on the beach as part of the project.

“There is no record that any of these studies were undertaken as evidenced by a lack of an Environmental Impact Assessment for the sand nourishment,” the researchers said.

In sand nourishment projects, a volume of sand equivalent to two or three times the amount of sand that is filled is lost, according to the researchers.

“So placing 150,000 cubic meters was a gross underestimate and not surprising that the sand was taken away from the beach,” the report added.

It further said that some sand has already been removed by higher waves during cyclone ‘Amphan’ and that most of the sand would be washed away after the south-west monsoon.

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