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Breakwater alternatives should be thoroughly researched – coastal management expert

Published:Thursday | August 11, 2016 | 4:34 PM

A coastal management expert from the Netherlands has urged local stakeholders to thoroughly research solutions to beach erosion to prevent the implementation of restoration projects which may further degrade the coastal zone.

The Dutch engineers were invited to Jamaica by the Negril Chamber of Commerce to present environmentally-friendly recommendations that can replenish the eroding Negril beach.

Their presentation follows the government's scrapping of the controversial breakwater project which was originally proposed to prevent beach erosion in Negril.

The Negril Chamber of Commerce and environmental groups had opposed the project, saying it would destroy the Negril beach and insisted that more environmentally friendly solutions could be found.

Senior Coastal Engineer at the Deltares Institute, Arjen Luijendijk, says any solution that is implemented to prevent beach erosion will be irreversible and has to therefore be properly researched.

Luijendijk says he doesn't believe the advantages and disadvantages of the breakwaters were fully highlighted, adding that the effect of that project would have been uncertain.


Dutch Coastal Engineer, Arjen Luijendijk

The engineer says he is not yet ready to give a solution to combat erosion of the Negril beach, adding that sufficient data is needed for his team to fully understand the coastal processes in Negril. 

Another expert has suggested the Negril beach could benefit from sand nourishment to protect it from massive erosion in the event of a storm.