How can Seawalls Protect NYC from Climate Change?
Authors: Kernesha Packette, Camila Reyes, Madina Karimova, Omer Q, Alice Lin
By 2050, NOAA says, sea levels along the East Coast will rise by up to 12 inches. Based on this information, we can infer that due to climate change increase, sea levels will rise even higher in the next few decades. This rise in the sea level can be very dangerous to the people in NYC due to erosion of beaches, flooding, and the loss of many marshes and wetlands. This is why sea walls will make a huge impact on whether or not we can withstand these rising sea levels. With help from our society and higher-ups, we can enforce new, more effective, sea-walls around NYC to protect us from this drastic increase in the near future.
Hurricane Sandy caused water levels to rise around New York City. Many lives were taken and the city suffered massive damage. As stated in The New York Times, the storm killed 72 people and caused $62 billion in damage. Now it was necessary to construct sea walls. Some of the pros of sea walls are the amount of money they would save the city and of course their protection. New York City has opened up projects like The ESCR that aim to reduce flood risk due to coastal storms and sea-level rise on Manhattan’s east side. A gate will prevent water from seeping into Manhattan, where the population density is very high. Along with this, buildings in the city are being reinforced. Also, they would save the city $30 million each year, as it will allow for adaptation to a range of threats, and will protect exposed land. Seawalls seem to be very effective and safe for our community.
If the sea walls have so many benefits, you might wonder, are there any bad consequences after the construction? The answer is yes, but not completely. The construction of seawalls by the ESCR program destroyed around 900 trees, as reported by News Nine, however, they aimed to plant 1,800 trees. They also wanted to plant 1,000 trees in the neighborhood in addition to their compensation above. 500 new trees have already been planted. Besides that, the construction of these walls costs a significant amount of money.
According to The Guardian, “Spending on seawalls alone could total almost as much as the initial investment in the interstate highway system,” the authors said. And the billions involved will represent just a fraction of adaptation efforts governments in coastal states will have to fund if they do not want to simply retreat.” Some cities in the US, including New York City, can spend the most: $3.5bn, $2bn, and $1.7bn, respectively. But our place is not the only place that is facing this issue. From the same report, Florida faces the highest costs, $76bn by 2040. Louisiana comes in second at $38bn and North Carolina third at $35bn. With that cost, the seawalls carry out their main task, protect the cities and protect us. In such global topics as building seawalls, it is always worth considering both positives and negatives.
Warning: Sea walls are good but they can’t always protect us from the water.
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