The beaches in the resort of Varadero, Cuba's top sun and surf destination, are shrinking due to erosion caused by rising sea levels, state media reported.
"Varadero has annual losses of between 40,000 and 50,000 cubic meters (429,991 and 537,489 sq. feet) of sand due to erosion associated with the rising level of the sea," Environmental Services Center coastal management office chief Oscar Garcia said.
The Hicacos peninsula in Matanzas province, where the resort is located, is losing between 70 centimeters (2.2 feet) and one meter (3.2 feet) of shoreline annually, Garcia told the AIN news agency.
Cuba is creating programs to determine the threat level from rising seas in coastal areas and take measures, such as banning construction on sand dunes, to protect the shoreline, the expert said.
Some 84 percent of the beaches across Cuba, which has 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles) of coastline, are threatened by erosion, government figures from 2012 show.
Studies found that 413 beaches show some signs of erosion, with the erosion rate estimated at 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) annually.
About 2.9 million cubic meters (nearly 31.2 million sq. feet) of sand have been used for beach renourishment in Varadero, which welcomes more than 1 million tourists annually, since 1987.
Varadero has about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) of beaches. EFE