Tobago needs $70 million to repair their coastlines because of coastal erosion.
So said Kwesi Des Vignes, secretary of the Division of Infrastructure and the Environment earlier today at the launch of the Comprehensive National Coastal Monitoring Programme, (CNCMP) held at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain.
The programme will support the monitoring of TT’s coastal areas and serve as a central database for coastal information.
Des Vignes said in the past two decades Tobago lost almost 23 metres at Pigeon Point and several metres at other coastal areas like Grange Beach.
“If we have to save our coasts, we have a serious task at hand,” Des Vignes said. He added that about 80 per cent of Tobagonians live on the coast, and because of the effect it could have on those people protecting the coasts is not something that they could take lightly.
In his address, Minister of Works Rohan Sinanan said Trinidad faced the same dangers as land has been retreating for years.
He related a story where he bought a parcel of land which was on the Manzanilla coast, but sold the land and bought another parcel further away from the shore.
“I had always dreamed of a house on the beach, and my family was upset when I decided to sell the land, but every time we visited the spot we realised it was getting closer to the beach. Two years later when we visited the land, half of it was gone.”
He said coastal erosion is a constant occurrence because of natural disasters and the natural erosion of the waves and the wind, but today erosion takes place more rapidly because of construction and farming. He also pointed out that
half of the nation’s major towns are accessed via coastal roads and 90 per cent of tourist facilities, 90 per cent of annual fish production activities and 80 per cent of activities related to the energy-based industries are based on the coast.
“This collaboration will serve as a binding commitment to knowledge sharing capacity building and to establish special partnership regarding this worthwhile initiative.” Sinanan said.