Beach erosion in the Larnaca district has become extremely serious, especially in Pervolia and Voroklini where 23 metres of beach has been lost over the past few years, the Larnaca tourism board (Etap) said on Thursday.
Etap has called on the communications and works minister for urgent help in building breakwaters in an attempt to halt the process.
In an announcement, the board said that beyond the obvious problems to adjacent hotels, homes and other buildings, it means tourists are less attracted to the island and its beaches.
“Voroklini, which is one of the most important tourist areas of the Larnaca region, has so far lost more than 23 metres of beach. With regard to Pervolia, the coastal front of the community has also lost about 20 metres due to erosion, despite the fact that six breakwaters have already been built,” the announcement said.
The tourism board and the Voroklini and Pervolia community councils call on the government to proceed with the construction of another seven breakwaters on the Voroklini coast and nine in Pervolia.
This should have been done years ago, but there was no money due to the economic crisis, secretary of the Voroklini community Andreas Theodosiou council told the Cyprus Mail.
Since the government is responsible for maintaining the beach fronts, it should include funds for the project in the state budget, he added.
“We are trying to minimise the contribution of the community,” he explained. “Three of the existing breakwaters also need to be reconstructed. This is not our fault, and to this we will not contribute.”
A study paid for by the government resulted in the faulty construction, he added.
Though breakwaters are commonly presented as the solution to coastal erosion, some experts argue that they come with their own problems.
According to coastal civil engineer and environmental research consultant Xenia Loizidou, breakwaters negatively affect water quality because they change the currents which naturally clean the areas near the beaches and creates stagnant areas where the water is not circulating well.
Though she believes that each coast has its own problems which should be solved in various ways, she agrees that now that several breakwaters have already been built in the area, there is no going back, as once one exists, there is a chain reaction and more will be needed.
But she is still concerned over the materials used to construct them. At present, quarries provide the huge rocks for the breakwaters – a case of destroying the mountains to save the coast.
“The government should use construction waste to create artificial rocks instead of bringing down our precious mountains,” she said.