Monday, February 25, 2008

Raising sea walls in Guyana -- a proposal

Starbroek News (Guyana): Executive Director of Conservation International Dr. David Singh is of the view that effective upgrade of sea defences is one of many measures that Guyana could undertake to help combat the effects that climate change brings.

In particular, he said that the heightening of the sea wall to cater for the rising seas as a result of climate change is one that should be looked at. But he acknowledges that such an undertaking might be beyond the coffers of the state and dependent on donors. He said that the nature of donor funding disbursement makes successfully implementing such projects difficult.

Further, Dr Singh said that it is for the engineers to calculate the height that the existing sea defences need to be raised in order to withstand higher sea levels. He said that when the sea defences were built in the 1950s they catered for a certain degree of overtopping, and now that there has been a general increase in the level of the sea since then, the structures are inadequate. He said that because of the rise, existing sea defence structures are put at additional pressure.

This inadequacy of the sea defence has led to salt water intrusion, he said. "Yes, we can build higher sea defences but we must also look at other options as well," he said, adding that with the population concentrated on the coast, it would be difficult for the country to move its capital inland for fear of being overtaken by the sea. "A suite of different approaches is needed - one of them is to invest more in sea defence," Dr Singh said….

View of the ocean, Georgetown, Guyana, by "JukoFF," Wikimedia Commons

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