Video: Tunisia is restoring its coastlines, one beach at a time
Tunisia Mediterranean coastline
STORY NAME: TUNISIA MEDITERRANEAN COASTLINE
SOUND: NATURAL SOUND WITH ENGLISH AND ARABIC SPEECH
SOURCE: BIRD STORY AGENCY
ASPECT RATIO: 16.9
ORIGINAL FRAME RATE: 24 fps (progressive).
1. SADAK AYARI, FISHERMAN, TAKING OUT THE FISH NET FROM THE BOAT.
2.BOATS AND OTHER FISHERMEN AT THE COASTLINE.
3.BOATS ON THE COASTLINE
4.FISHERMEN SEATED ON THE COASTLINE OF THE SEA.
5.SOUNBITE (ARABIC): SADAK AYARI, FISHERMAN, SAYING:
“The coastline protection project is fantastic. Now we can find octopus, different species of fish and mussels near the coast. The system put in place by engineers is revolutionary because it protects the coast and allows different marine species to live and thrive. Life is back to the town. We are eating fish and earning a living from this coastline. This project is 100% successful.”
6.THE SEA WATERS.
7.OLD HOUSES NEAR THE SEA.
8.RAINBOW ACROSS THE SEA.
9.SOUNDBITE (ARABIC): FARID SAIDANI, HAMMAN CHOTT RESIDENT, SAYING:
“Many houses in the area were destroyed by erosion. I used to work here at a tourist restaurant on the beach. The waves were so high we were forced to leave.”
10.OLD HOUSES NEAR THE COASTLINE.
11. SOUNDBITE (ARABIC): FARID SAIDANI, HAMMAN CHOTT RESIDENT, SAYING:
“Life is back since the coastal protection agency put protective structures. I thank the engineers and all those who made this dream come true.”
12.BOATS AT THE COASTLINE
13.SOUNBITE (ARABIC): SLAH CHTIOUI, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, TUNISIAN COASTAL PROTECTION AGENCY SAYING:
“This particular area was affected by climate change and coastal erosion as early as in the 1970s and 1980s. This coastline and town was protected by breakwaters. This method had some advantages but many disadvantages as well by transforming the coastline through the spread of seaweed, plastics and waste. The new project respects the environment. It spreads over 7 kms. Beach nourishment with new methods has allowed fishermen, residents and people who live near the sea to return. Houses and hotels were under permanent threat from sea waves. Now it's a safe area. Coastal protection has revived this town.”
14.SLAH CHTIOUI WALKING ALONG THE COASTLINE WITH MOHAMED TORKI, MEDITERRANEAN COASTLINE ENGINEER.
15.SOUNDBITE (ARABIC): MOHAMED TORKI, MEDITERRANEAN COASTLINE ENGINEER, SAYING:
“The impact of climate change on many coastal communities is very dangerous. That's why it's vital to protect them, especially the communities that live from fishing and tourism. they cannot earn a living without these economic activities. If climate change accelerates the disappearance of beaches, people will have to migrate. Our projects aim to protect the coastline and the coastal communities.”
16.THE SURROUNDINGS OF THE COASTLINE.
A coastline protection project in Tunisia is restoring the beaches, biodiversity and, with it, the economic lifeline of the community.
bird story agency
A few years ago, Farid Saidani, a Hamman Chott resident in Ben Arous Governorate, about 20 kilometres South of Tunis, had to abandon his home due to coastal erosion and rising sea levels that threatened to submerge his house.
A similar fate befell hundreds of other residential areas, most of which housed hotel workers like himself.
"I used to work at a tourist restaurant on the beach. The waves became so high we were forced to leave," he explained.
Today, Saidani and his colleagues have another chance to live and work along the coastline after the Tunisian Coastal Protection Agency intervened.
"Life is back since the coastal protection agency put protective structures," he said.
Adverse effects of climate change, especially rising sea levels, have long threatened Tunisia's Mediterranean coastline, which spans over 1000 kilometres.
But, the protection measures implemented by the agency are now bearing fruit.
Slah Chtioui, the Regional Director of the agency, explained how the coastline relied on breakwaters before the program, an approach that was not effective.
However, "the new project respects the environment. It spreads 7 kms, nourishes the beach, allowing fishermen, residents and people who live near the sea to return," he explained.
The agency has used fences made from pinewood to stabilise the dunes, planted protecting vegetation, built rubber mound sea walls, and installed sand fencing for sand-trapping.
As Mohamed Torki, Tunisia's Mediterranean Coastline Engineer, explained, the project has protected Tunisia's coastal landscape and littoral, alleviating coastal erosion that threatened populations along the coastline.
"The first phase of the project started in 2013 followed by the second phase in 2015. The project is still under execution," he said.
With the capacity to offer protection to the coastline for decades, the structures have been installed in five different towns along the coastline, including Raf Raf, Kerenah, Northern Sousse, Rades and Slimane.
From residents to businesses, the positive feedback from locals evidences the coastline's impact on the community.
"We do not impose anything on the population. The Tunisian Coastal Protection Agency discusses all these phases and the details of the projects with the representatives of the population…before approving any step," Torki explained.
The agency is not leaving anything to chance and is integrating other climate-smart projects and programs to ensure more protection of the coastline communities.
Torki disclosed that the agency seeks to use "hydraulic dredgers to dredge sand from the deep areas in the Mediterranean Sea and use it or push it back to the coastline", an approach already applied in other countries and is therefore viable.
Just like Saidani, Sadak Ayari, a fisherman and resident of Hammam Chott, admits the project has positively influenced fishing prospects since they can now find a range of fish species, including rare kinds such as octopuses.
"The system put in place by the engineers is revolutionary because it protects the coast and allows different marine species to live and thrive," he said.