By Alexis R. Milan, Staff Reporter
Residents of Punta Negra, a small coastal community in the Toledo district, are seeking government’s assistance to address what they deem to be an urgent erosion problem affecting their community and threatening their livelihoods.
Ray Jacobs, a Punta Negra village councilor, explained that the erosion of the shores along their village has been a consistent problem but has really intensified over the last five years. According to Jacobs, the erosion has impacted over 10 miles of coast line, reducing the beach by up to 60 feet in some areas.
A quick tour of the village, which is accessible only by boat as their are no roads that lead in or out of the community, makes obvious just how much the erosion has impacted the area. Coconut trees with exposed roots lay dead in shallow sea waters, where beach sand once occupied, for miles. Other trees hang on, but just barely, soon to be consumed and reclaimed by the ocean.
Jacobs said the Council is looking at its options but believes the best way to address the problem is by lining the coast with large boulders and rocks to form a sea-wall and break the waves. He said this method has been used in many parts of the country, including Punta Gorda (PG) just a few miles away. The only problem for the community is that, since there are no roads leading in, a barge would be necessary to transport the boulders but the Council doesn’t have the funding to undertake the task being just a small fishing community.
Jacobs said the Council would be writing a formal request to the government and to Climate Change Center for assistance in the coming weeks.