HAVANA – Authorities have decided to place more than 600,000 cubic meters of sand on Varadero beach, the island’s most famous, as part of a plan to combat coastal erosion.
According to officials, the beaches of this popular tourist destination in western Cuba have been steadily deteriorating as a result of construction projects and the “indiscriminate” extraction of sand, mainly in the 1960s.
Cuba’s ministries of tourism and environment will jointly carry out the program under which 622,000 cubic meters of sand will be placed along 7 kilometers of beachfront in Varadero, some 140 kilometers east of Havana.
Environmental official Angel Alberto Alfonso said that the project should begin in the second half of August and require about 70 days to complete.
Alfonso said the plan is being carried out “now because the beach needs it” due to “signs of erosion” on some stretches of the coastline.
Cuban environmental authorities began monitoring Varadero beach in 1975 and in the 1980s an action plan was implemented that led to the placement of a total of a million cubic meters of sand in 1998. In 2003, a second such placement of sand fill was carried out.
Varadero, which in February received a record number of foreign tourists, with almost 30,000 in one day, boasts 20 kilometers of white-sand beaches.
The resort town is Cuba’s second-leading tourist destination after the city of Havana, and together the two places account for 70 percent of the island’s tourism revenue.