May 17, 2010
CONSTANTA (Romania) - ROMANIAN officials warned on Monday that the country's Black Sea beaches, a destination for vacationers seeking sand and arthritics seeking relief, are eroding and might disappear in 20 years.
Simion Nicolaev, director of the Grigore Antipa Marine Research Institute in this Black Sea city, said 2,200 hectares (5,440 acres) had been eaten away in the past 45 years, while just 70 hectares (173 acres) of fresh sand had been deposited. He said measures needed to be taken to prevent the beaches disappearing altogether.
Environment Minister Laszlo Borbely had said on Sunday that 'stupefying' data from Japanese and Danish studies showed much the same thing.
Mr Nicolaev said an 8-kilometre (5-mile) dam at the port of Sulina, where ships enter and exit the River Danube, is preventing the natural deposit of sand along the coast. He said violent winter storms had contributed to the erosion of the coastline, where the largest beach is just 250 metres (825-feet) wide.
Worst affected is the northern part of the coast, which includes Romania's popular resort of Mamaia, where the coastline has shrunk 500 metres (yards) in recent years. Waves reached the hotels this winter. Mr Nicolaev said anti-erosion measures would be costly. He said underwater seawalls could be constructed to shore up the sand, or officials could physically import and dump sand on the beaches.
In recent years, tourism on Romania's Black Sea coast has suffered. It is concentrated on 80 kilometres (50 miles) of a coastline that runs 245 kilometres (155 miles) from north to south. It draws people on summer vacations as well as those who believe the salt waters and sulfur mud can cure arthritis and other conditions.