Beaches at risk, 712 extreme events since 2010. The South is most affected

Beaches at risk, 712 extreme events since 2010. The South is most affected

Beaches and coastal areas among the most fragile and suffering areas of the Peninsula. First of all weighing the impacts of the climate crisis, the warming of sea water and especially the extreme weather events which increasingly affect i coastal municipalities is that Legambiente mapped for the first time in its new report Beaches 2023. The current situation and changes in the Italian coastal areas.

From 2010 to June 2023, according to theCity Climate Observatory of Legambiente, there are 712 extreme weather eventsout of 1,732 total events, which occurred in 240 of the 643 coastal municipalities (equal to 37.3%). 186 victims were recorded out of a total of 331 throughout Italy.


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In detail, the events that were recorded were: 254 floods from heavy rains, 199 damages from tornadoes and gusts of wind, 84 damages to infrastructures from heavy rains, 64 damages from storm surges, 46 river floods, 21 landslides from heavy rains, 19 damages from hailstorms, 10 damages from prolonged drought, 9 damages to historical heritage from heavy rains and 6 cases of record temperatures.

Since 2010 the most affected regions have been the Sicilywith 154 extreme events, the Puglia with 96, the Calabria (77) and the Campania (73). Among the municipalities most affected: Bariwith 43 cases, Agrigento with 32, Genoa with 27, Palermo And Naples both with 23 cases e Ancona with 22.

Also worrying are the data oncoastal erosion It is on soil consumption, reports Legambiente: between 2006 and 2019, 1,771 km of low natural coast were modified out of a total of 4,706 km, equal to 37.6% (Ispra data). One of the problems is that in Italy we continue to intervene with works such as groynes and breakwater barriers, reaching a total of 10,500 rigid works along the Italian coasts, almost 3 every 2 kilometers of coast. These are works that further artificialize the coastline and which, as has been proven on many coasts, inevitably modify the sea currents and simply shift the problem to other stretches of coast. Land consumption in Italian coastal municipalities is equal to over 420 thousand hectares in 2021 which corresponds to 27% of the total land consumed in Italy, with an increase of close to 6% compared to the 2006 figure.

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Respect to the theme floods, in our country there are 40 areas at greatest risk (data from Enea), with thousands of square kilometers of coastal areas that risk being submerged by the sea, in a scenario of 2100 and in the absence of mitigation and adaptation interventions. Without forgetting the problem of inaccessibility to beaches for reasons of illegality (cancelled and closed beaches that should be accessible to all, unauthorized building, etc.) and the one where the sea is polluted and bathing is prohibited: 7.7% of low Italian coasts.

"The Italian coasts - he declares Stephen Ciafani, national president of Legambiente - represent one of the most important litmus papers, together with urban areas, above all for analyzing the impacts that the climate crisis is already bringing together with extreme weather events and water heating. In fact, these are areas at the center of the Mediterranean climatic hot spot and therefore particularly vulnerable and which, in the future, will be even more so due to the rise in sea levels. For this reason it is essential to intervene with concrete actions for coastal areas by approving the national climate adaptation plan and implementing plans and governance tools that reduce the risk for people, homes and infrastructures, and which allow for the planning of interventions aimed at improving the management of the territories. Just as it is necessary to guarantee the right to free and free use of the beaches and, on the other hand, to reward the quality of the offer and the choices of environmental sustainability in the criteria for awarding the concessions of the beaches. With respect to today's inter-ministerial table, we would like to point out that unfortunately the reasons for the environment have been kept out. Environmental associations have not been invited, but only those that bring together operators in the sector and administrations".

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