Erosion threatens Antalya’s world-famous beach

Erosion threatens Antalya’s world-famous beach

Erosion threatens Antalya’s world-famous beach

Turkey’s iconic Konyaaltı Beach, which hosts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year in the Mediterranean province of Antalya, is facing the serious threat of erosion.

“There’s now enough room only to lay a towel on the beach,” according to Nihat Dipova, a geotechnics professor from Akdeniz University.

The world-famous beach has lost nearly 262,000 square meters of soil in the last 60 years due to erosion, causing the shoreline to recede by 35 meters since the 1960s, he said.

Known across the world as a unique holiday spot where visitors can enjoy white sand and deep blue water, the 7.5-kilometer-long public beach, which holds a Blue Flag certificate, is located by Antalya’s city center. The beach is especially a draw for tourists from Russia and the United Kingdom.

Dipova said there were three main reasons for the decrease in the amount of sand on Konyaaltı Beach.

First, the Antalya Port’s breakwater is holding back some of the sand and gravel that normally comes to the beach, Dipova said.

Second, sand and stone quarries have changed the sedimentation regime, resulting in less sediment reaching the sea, Dipova said.

Third, a project on the Boğaçayı Stream, which flows from the Taurus Mountains into the Mediterranean Sea, has altered how sediment moves. Because the mouth of the stream has been widened, the current has dropped, meaning less still sediment is able to reach the sea and replenish the beach.

Dipova shared satellite images that clearly show how the beach has lost sand over the years.

Officials have discussed whether to bring stones, sand and pebbles from other areas, such as to the north of the Boğaçayı Stream or the Sarısu Women’s Beach, Dipova said. “But because such a solution won’t be permanent, things will go back to the way they were.”

According to official figures from provincial authorities, 15.5 million tourists from 193 countries visited Antalya in 2019, setting an all-time tourism record for visitors, but the tourism hotspot has been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Authorities also banned access to the Konyaaltı Beach until Turkey began instituting phased normalization on June 1. Now visitors can enjoy the beach, as long as they adhere to physical distancing rule