Some parts of Laboni and Sugondha points at Cox’s Bazar beach are on the verge of being completely wiped off as rough seas and high tides, caused by a low-pressure system, have been wreaking havoc on the longest naturally formed sea beach in the world, bdnews24.com reports.
Bangladesh Meteorological Department has issued a local cautionary signal No. 3, considering the effects of the low-pressure system. The beach town has been experiencing moderate to heavy rainfalls for the last three days.
Md Abdul Hamid Mia, an assistant meteorologist at the regional Met Office, said adverse weather has caused the tides to grow larger than normal, subsequently damaging some parts of the beach, which had already been marked as vulnerable.
Such weather conditions may continue for at least a week or so, he said.
Cox's Bazar Met Office advised all fishing boats and trawlers over the North Bay to remain close to the coast and proceed with caution until further notice.
Stakeholders said the danger posed by the high tides that sometimes rise to two to four feet more than usual size considerably affected tourism, one of the lifelines of Cox’s Bazar’s economy.
A study published earlier in 2022 in the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering stated that the alarming trend of rising sea levels since 2003 resulted in higher waves, which in turn eroded and affected the beach and protective structures.
Analysing data from the three decades from 1983, the researchers concluded that recent shoreline erosion in Cox’s Bazar beach is happening much quicker than in the preceding decades and temperature rise and precipitation impacted the process of sea-level rising.
A quick visit on Friday to several of the tourist entry points at the beach corroborated the researchers’ theory, as it appeared some parts of the beach are losing their charm due to the rise of high tides.
INFRASTRUCTURES ON THE BEACH UNDER THREAT
The Laboni and Sugondha points, most popular among the tourists for easy accessibility, are the most vulnerable ones, according to the authorities.
Due to seashore erosion, the offices of the district administration’s tourism cell and tourist police, beach parasol mall at Laboni point and beach market at Sugondha point have been marked critically in danger of being washed away or breaking apart.
Osman Gani, the in-charge of Sea-safe Life Guard, said the shoreline has moved at least 500 yards closer to the town in the last couple of weeks.
Md Reazaul Karim, additional superintendent of Cox's Bazar Tourist Police, said a police watchpoint at the beach has already been washed away by the high tides.
“We have asked the administration and the Water Development Board to take quick action to prevent further damage,” he said.
He also said they were discouraging tourists from entering the beach area to avoid any untoward incident.
PERMANENT DAM TO PREVENT EROSION
Water Resources Secretary Kabir Bin Anwar inspected the affected areas of the beach on Friday.
For now, he said, hundreds of geotextile bags, filled with sands, will be placed strategically to prevent erosion.
Moreover, the secretary said, a proposal for a project to build a permanent protective dam from Najirtec point, close to Bakkhali estuary, to Marine Drive, a picturesque highway that connected Cox’s Bazar with Teknaf, the southernmost point of Bangladesh, has been submitted to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council for approval.
The Tk 1.4 billion project will be implemented after taking into account its environmental effects.
Tanzir Saif Ahmed, the executive engineer of Cox's Bazar Water Development Board, said the ongoing severe weather has been impacting the beach more compared to previous seasons.
“We put geotextile bags to prevent the erosion of the sea at the beginning of monsoon. But the weather this year is far worse than the previous year, causing the parts of the beach to wash away along with the high tides,” he said.