Proposed man-made beach sparks controversy

Writer: Zhang Yu  |  Editor: Holly Wang  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2021-07-23

The news that a man-made beach will be built along the Shenzhen Bay Coastal Leisure Belt has quickly aroused attention from the public, especially environmentalists, and triggered heated discussion.

In a recent reply, the urban management and comprehensive law enforcement bureau of Nanshan District, the initiator for the project, said that the project is still in the preliminary planning stage and no conclusion has been reached yet, Southern Metropolis Daily reported. The bureau published a plan for the beach in June to seek public opinion.

The made-made beach plan was revealed to the public as an ecological restoration project, which intends to weaken the effect of waves and tides and reduce mudding and subsidence through the construction of a submerged dike.

It is also aimed at expanding the beach area, improving regional ecological functions, increasing disaster prevention and mitigation capacity, and providing citizens with more spaces to get closer to the sea, according to a statement asking for public input.

However, the project has drawn controversy on whether the area chosen is suitable for the construction of a man-made beach.

Public information shows that Shenzhen Bay’s water quality is classified as grade IV, the poorest quality in national standards for seawater.

The Shenzhen Blue Ocean Conservation Association (BOCA) has previously mentioned that grade IV seawater is not recommended for direct skin contact. Citizens are also warned against close contact with the sand in areas with poor water quality.

BOCA said that because most children love to play water, the construction of a man-made beach in Shenzhen Bay is likely to pose some hidden hazards to children. The association suggests that the construction of the beach project be postponed until the water quality is completely up to standard.

The bureau said that if the man-made beach is built in the future, tourists will not be allowed to touch the seawater.

The wording “ecological restoration” has also become a bone of contention for environmentalists. According to BOCA, the man-made beach project does not meet the definition of ecological restoration and should not be listed as an ecological restoration project. It should be called a livelihood project or a municipal project and should not draw upon the city’s special funds for ecological restoration.

Meanwhile, some environmentalists believe that although the construction area of the project is small, it will have a certain impact on Shenzhen Bay, which suffers from insufficient hydrodynamic forces and serious siltation.

It is not the first time that a man-made beach is proposed to be built in Shenzhen Bay. In 2017, a man-made beach with a repaired coastline of about 100 meters was built on the coastal section of Shenzhen Bay Park. But currently there is certain sand loss on the beach due to waves and tidal currents.