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Coastal Erosion Shocks Egypt’s North Coast, Environment Ministry Investigates

July 24, 2022
Image Credit: Akhbar Al-Youm

Egypt’s summer season in Sahel (the North Coast) has not gone as intended for certain beachgoers as those who expected white sands and crystalline waters witnessed turbidity – thick, cloudy waters – and coastal erosion in the form of large rocks across shorelines, as confirmed by a press release published by the Egyptian Environment Ministry on 24 July.

The Ministry pinpointed the cause of Sahel’s turbidity to the marina dredging operations in Marassi, an upscale private beach compound by UAE-based real estate development company, Emaar Misr.

“[Egypt’s Environment Minister] Dr. Yasmin Fouad formed an urgent and specialized committee to immediately inspect the coastal area of the Marassi compound [as well as the Diplomats and Stella compounds] to take necessary actions,” the press release says.

“The committee’s work continues to follow up on counteractive measures taken since inspections began and found that turbidity levels have gradually returned to their normal rates […]. The affected beaches are safe and do not affect the uses and tourist activities,” it adds.

In the meantime, Marassi was swiftly ordered to halt all dredging activities related to their marina in order to maintain normal turbidity levels. Emaar Misr is yet to release a statement.

The curious case of Sahel’s coastal erosion, however, is still under investigation according to the press release. Consequently, the Environment Ministry is coordinating with the Water and Irrigation Ministry, along with officials from the affected compounds, to urgently produce a report of the situation and reach a solution.

Once the report is prepared it will be directed to Egypt’s Higher Committee for Licensing at the Water and Irrigation Ministry, which is the government body responsible for issuing licenses for any business along beaches in coordination with other relevant authorities.

In response to the coastal erosion, certain compounds, such as Emaar Misr, have covered the coastal rocks that appeared from receding shorelines with sandbags, much to the anger of residents.

“Emaar needs to have better behavior after destroying Sidi Abdulrahman Bay, it was the best in the North Coast. It’s unacceptable when Egypt is hosting COP27 and Emaar really couldn’t care less about environmental destruction,” reads a post from Hisham Ezz Elarab, former chairman of Egypt’s Commercial International Bank, an indignant owner of a summer home in Marassi.

Image Credit: Hisham Ezz Elarab/Facebook

Certain television figures, such as talk show host Amr Adib, questioned the influence of climate change on Sahel’s receding shorelines, as previous scientific studies have shown rising sea levels across Egypt’s Mediterranean coastline. Alexandria, which neighbors the Sahel areas, has been a victim of coastal erosion and rising sea levels for decades due to rising sea temperatures.

“We are talking about serious environmental changes, and the issue is very critical,” Amr Adib said. “People went to the beaches and found rocks [across shorelines].”

As Egypt prepares to host the United Nations’ COP27 on November 2022, the largest conference for climate change, the Ministry of Environment continues to hasten in solving the detrimental impacts of climate change on its shores.