The bathing season on the Lazio coast is starting but the erosion that devours the shores continues to worry. “There is no tourism if there is no beach, an asset of the community that must always and in any case be defended, possibly without creating damage to the environment and without wasting resources for wrong actions”. Thus Marco Maurelli, president of Federbalneari Lazio, interviewed by Adnkronos, intervenes on the reopening of the beaches in the Region, then focusing on the “worrying” phenomenon of coastal erosion. “The official start of the bathing season is set for June 1, however the Lazio Region – explains Maurelli – has given the opportunity to open as early as May 1, with positive feedback from many municipalities. Rome will start on May 15 but on the coast north many have already opened “. With the approval of Federbalneari according to which, “the bathing establishment performs a social function” and, in the face of the health emergency, “allows distance and safety on the beaches. In this respect there is the greatest commitment on the part of the concessionaires”. An applause goes “to Lazio’s anti-Covid vaccination plan, which has now taken off, which will allow us to return to live the summer in safety”, adds Maurelli. So far, so good. What continues to worry Federbalneari Lazio – and not only that – is the erosion of the coasts that is advancing. “An underestimated problem, faced in an unorthodox way by the Region. Erosion, the data certify, has significantly increased as a direct consequence of ineffective interventions. We cannot think of solving by throwing four stones overboard, without logic, without studies and evaluations. environmental issues. We need to intervene at the root of the problem, avoiding waste of resources “, underlines Maurelli. The Lazio coast extends for a total of 290 km, of which 220 km are low sandy coasts. According to experts’ data, reported by Federbalneari, erosion was already present in different areas of the coast in 1970, involving about 20-25 km of coastline (about 10% of the sandy coast). Around 1990 77 km of coastline were eroded (Apat data): about half ‘protected’ by rigid works (groynes, grazing barriers and cliffs), reaching about 460 in number in 1997. In 2000, according to Ispra sources, the Lazio Region had lost about 2 million square meters of beach, a direct economic asset with a total capital value of about 3 billion euros. The latest regional data also published in the National Guidelines on coastal erosion (Tnec-2018), refer to the period 2007-2012 and report the presence of 103 km of stretches of coastline in erosion (equal to about 44% of the total beaches shallow sandy areas), with an estimated loss of beach of about 200,000 square meters / year. “After having invested at least 150 million euros in about 50 years to ‘protect’ the coasts and then find themselves with an erosion of 44% of the same coasts, it should involve the questioning of methods and political choices”, underlines Maurelli who points the finger. on the fact that the same rigid works continue to be designed and built as before and continuous nourishment that does not solve. This is the case of Ostia. From 1990 to 2015, the overall erosion of the coast of Ostia – after several interventions – went from about 50,000 square meters to 120,000 square meters, with an increase of 250%. “And the situation from 2016 to today has not improved at all. It is time to change approach – comments the president of Federbalneari Lazio – with greater sharing and transparency in the decision-making phase of the interventions to be planned, evaluating all the critical issues in terms of environmental damage “. “It must be admitted that the Commission has never witnessed a far-sighted debate and has lacked an overview”, says, for his part, Marco Cacciatore, regional councilor of Lazio (Green Europe) and member of the XII Commission at the Pisana which also deals with coastal erosion. While for Fabrizio Ghera, Fdi’s parent company in the Lazio Region, “nothing effective and lasting has been produced for the protection of the Lazio coasts”. The reopening of the bathing establishments is certainly “a positive sign” for both workers and visitors who love to enjoy the sea, he says to Adnkronos Ghera, convinced “that the owners will do everything possible to be ready to welcome the guests. bathers in full compliance with anti-contagion legislation “. The Lazio beaches, however, pay for the failure to combat erosion, registering “a considerable contraction of the surface almost everywhere, a serious commercial damage, considering the reduction of the available spaces due to the observance of the distancing measures”. bad administration – comments Ghera – put at risk much more than next bathing season, even the future existence of the structures. Too much public money was wasted on useless nourishment immediately swept away by the waves. Several establishments were forced to close due to the strong and progressive contraction of the beaches (with peaks in some points even over a hundred meters); others forced to pay the state rents in full although they are now deprived of the beach. This is because the phenomenon of erosion has not been addressed in a structural and concrete way “. Areas of naturalistic value “are being irretrievably lost and less and less space remains for swimmers to enjoy the benefits of the sea, yet they still hesitate to finance a scientific study on marine currents to elaborate a solution project, as has been done in other countries”. Among the areas most at risk of erosion are those near the river mouth of the Tiber (Ostia and Fiumicino), Fregene, Ladispoli, Santa Marinella and the coastal dune of Circeo, recalls his colleague Cacciatore, according to whom, speaking of the start of the bathing season, “the problem to be faced is not only that, albeit important linked to the operation of bathing businesses, but also that relating to the health of citizens and respect for biodiversity. I am referring above all to the danger of increasing the phenomenon of erosion coastal with action interventions on the sand that can prove counterproductive. For example, cleaning the beach with mechanical means pro bottoms or the removal of natural materials such as posidonia and trunks of wood or broken material from the beaches “. In short, “there are cases in which the maintenance works of the beach change the natural morphology of the beach. Such interventions, if invasive and not well regulated, thus risk making the beach more exposed to storm surges”. Therefore, due attention is needed considering that “in our Region 54% of the beaches are at risk of erosion”.