Cuba is taking advantage of the decrease in international tourism and beach enthusiasts caused by the COVID-19 epidemic to recover beaches that have suffered erosion as a result of climate change and could lose their appeal as one of the most important products offered by the island to the hotel sector.
The decrease in people in the beach resorts has made it possible to carry out work with large machinery and dumping of sand on beaches of important tourist destinations such as Varadero, declared the director of the Commercial Division of Coastal Engineering of the company Inversiones Gamma S.A., Ernesto Tristá, cited by the Agencia Cubana de Noticias news agency.
As part of a program to recover this natural resource prioritized in the State plan to confront climate change—known as Tarea Vida—rehabilitation works are planned to continue until 2030, according to the source.
Around 86% of the 505 existing beaches in Cuba show evidence of erosion, which is manifested with the outcrop of rocks in the area where the waves break, effects on the coastal vegetation and in facilities built near the coastline.
Tristá explained that in 2020 Gamma specialists demolished concrete structures that limited the natural functioning of Oasis beach in Varadero, built coastal defenses and poured new sand, in an area where a high-standard hotel is being built.
The official acknowledged that the work is difficult, but last year they completed approximately 50% of the work, and they hope to complete it by the end of 2021.
In the beach resort itself, sand was poured into the Plaza América cove during the months of April, May and June and a dangerous breakwater was demolished in front of the emblematic Xanadú Mansion.
According to Tristá, in 2020 similar work was carried out in Playa Pesquero, in Holguín, where there was a rocky terrace devoid of sand, and a beach was created “with excellent conditions,” well received by the tour operators and directives of that sector in the eastern province.
The expert announced that this year they plan to dump around 400,000 cubic meters of sand in Cayo Paredón Grande, north of Ciego de Ávila, with a modern suction dredger from the Maritime Works Company of the Ministry of Construction.
He also added that they are preparing the recovery of the beaches of the Ancón Peninsula, in Sancti Spíritus; in Cayo Largo del Sur, in the Caribbean Sea, at the eastern tip of Los Canarreos Archipelago, with a very important erosive problem; and in El Salado Beach, in Artemisa.