Waikiki Beach: Hawaii politicians propose bill to halt sand erosion at famous tourist destination

The artificially engineered beach has been filled with imported sand for decades

Marina Riker
Thursday 03 March 2016 22:09 GMT
Waikiki beach in Honolulu suffers from coastal erosion
Waikiki beach in Honolulu suffers from coastal erosion

In a land of natural wonders, the famous beach at Waikiki on Hawaii is different: it is engineered.

Waikiki has been filled with imported sand for decades. But the beach has had problems with erosion for years, so Hawaii politicians are proposing a new bill to restore it.

The bill originally proposed a $1.5m (£1.06m) plan to fill a portion of the beach where erosion has left it almost entirely gone. It would also give money for a path along the shoreline for pedestrians and cyclists.

The latest effort comes four years after the state spent over $2.4m to pump sand from offshore to replenish the beach. People have been bringing in sand to make the beach wider for about 75 years.

“I never understood the value of our beach as someone growing up here until I started hearing the stories from my grandfather of the 1940s,” said Republican representative Chris Lee, who grew up on Oahu and introduced the bill. “It’s a totally different beach than it was back then, and I think we have a chance to restore some of that magic.”

Photographs from the 1930s and 1940s show a continuous stretch of white sand from one end of the beach to the other. Now, it’s separated by seawalls and sections where there’s barely any beach left.

Mr Lee said an uninterrupted stretch of beach is important to maintaining the allure of the state’s most popular tourist destination.


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