As a Small Island Developing State (SID), Trinidad and Tobago’s coastlines are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, the impact of which is coastal erosion and inundation. This is due to several contributing factors including rising sea levels and increased wave action. Destruction of our coastlines has multiple social, economic and environmental implications to the country particularly in the local communities who depend on the coastlines for varying services, including tourism, subsistence fishing and eco-system services for recreation and protection from disasters and flooding. It is imperative that coastal erosion and inundation be addressed for sustainable development and climate change adaptation.
The Critical Coastal Protection Programme was developed to address the critical sites around the shorelines of Trinidad and Tobago. The programme looks at solutions in the short, medium and long term. In the short-tern, the programme consists of designs and construction of coastal structures which would protect national assets and vulnerable properties. To date, the Coastal Protection Unit, Ministry of Works and Transport has partnered with NIDCO to complete the Manzanilla Beach Facility Seawall Stabilisation Works, the North Cocos Shoreline Stabilisation Works and the Shore of Peace Cliff Stabilisation Works.
In 2017, designs were completed for Quinam Coastal Protection Works, South Cocos Bay Shoreline Stabilisation Works, Cocos Bay Shoreline Stabilisation Works, Sans Souci Shoreline Stabilisation Works and Cap-de-Ville Shoreline Stabilisation Works. In 2018, the Quinam Coastal Protection Works were completed and the beach facility was re- opened to the public in December, 2018. Works commenced at the Cap-de-Ville Shoreline between Sunset Beach Facility and Chin kit Trace and advanced at the South Cocos Bay, Cocos Bay, and Sans Souci Shorelines.
For continued development of mitigation measures and adaptation strategies, important studies commenced with the development of the Comprehensive National Coastal Monitoring Programme and the Shoreline Management Plan for Manzanilla Beach and detailed designs for selected sites along the Paria Main Road between Grande Riviere and Matelot.
For 2019, the following works are expected to be completed. These include the Coastal Protection Works at Cocos Bay, South Cocos Bay and Sans Souci while the works in Cap-de-Ville and Matelot are expected to be completed in 2020.
Communities along the coastline and in low-lying areas will directly benefit from the programme through (1) reduction in incidences and impacts of flooding (which traditionally results in damage to properties, loss of agricultural crops and animals, disruption in commercial activities and cutting off of local communities.) and (II) increased opportunity for tourism and by extension, improvement in local economy in addition to improved prospects for fishing activity for fisher folks.