Thursday, December 31, 2020

How Sea Walls Destroy Beaches

Propubilica and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser have produced a joint story into how sea walls are helping to cause coastal erosion in Hawaii. Over the last one hundred years Oahu, Maui and Kauai have lost around 25% of their sandy beaches. To help protect their homes from rising seas the owners of sea-front properties often erect sea walls. These sea walls then contribute to the loss of Hawaii's sandy beaches - as over time waves hitting these sea walls pull the sand away from the shore. 

Hawaii's Beaches are Disappearing uses a combination of drone captured video, aerial imagery and maps to document and explain the loss of sandy beaches in Hawaii. These disparate element are tied together using Mapbox's Scrollytelling Template. As you progress through the story maps are used to show you where properties have built sea walls and where Hawaii's sandy beaches have disappeared. Overhead aerial imagery and drone shot videos provide stark illustrations of the power of the sea hitting property sea walls.

In Hawaii the authorities are supposed to have a 'no tolerance' policy towards the building of new sea walls. In reality however property owners are able to exploit a number of loopholes to protect their properties from rising seas. Government officials are also often adverse to denying home owners the right to defend their properties and environmental exemptions are often allowed. The result is that sea-front homes are being protected at the cost of the loss of Hawaii's sandy beaches.

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