This year we spent our family summer holidays in Poland at the coast of Baltic. Although the water is a bit colder we prefer it to most of the Med as the beaches are large, clean with pristine white sand and not too many people. Our English friends who joined us this year said these were some of the best beaches they have ever been on.
The coast however, like 2/3 of the Polish coastline, is constantly eroded and greedily taken by the see. Local authorities (in this case Maritime Office in Gdynia) put considerable effort in protecting the coast by building an infrastructure of plants, fences and boarders. They also try to ensure that people don’t destroy their work (all coastal dunes in Poland are under legal protection). Frequently you see sings like this one:
Roughly it lists all the things you are forbidden to do or destroyed and that otherwise you face penalties.
When I saw some parents helping their kids to cross a fence so they can play on a steep bank (causing further and rapid erosion) I wondered if an alternative approach would work better. Perhaps the note could say something like this:
“Welcome, you are now in the coastal zone. This area of nature and beauty is constantly exposed to erosion by sea and wind. Every year we put considerable effort to build and repair the infrastructure to protect the coastal dunes. The plants, fences, boarders and fascine play a vital role. You can help by supporting its integrity and make sure you don’t inadvertently destroy our coast.”
Then, there could also be some small “kits” with simple instructions that people could use to fix, extend and enforce the protection, perhaps by adding more fascine, planting sand grasses and so on…
I would love to see the authorities being brave to try such approach. I wonder if it would work. I wonder if it would save money.