Belgium can teach other countries how to effectively protect themselves against rising sea levels
For centuries, coastal infrastructure has protected our inland areas from flooding, namely breakwaters, dykes, sea walls and sand deposits. However, climate change, rising sea levels and coastal erosion require new innovative natural solutions if we are to keep our feet dry in the coming decades.
The coastal defences currently in place are gradually reaching their limits. Going forward, it will be not only people, but nature itself and beach and sea biodiversity that will need protecting. To this end, there is already broad cooperation between various public and private sector partners, including researchers, study bureaus, specialised companies and public authorities. One example of this from a few years ago was the construction of a biogenic mussel reef two kilometres off the coast of De Panne. The mussels grow on biodegradable cords just below the water surface, fall off after a while and latch onto to the seabed. If enough mussels cluster together, they form a living coastal buffer with their shells. New techniques in aquaculture maximise the growth of these natural reefs.
Such initiatives, benefitting both man and nature, prove how science and industry can still turn the tide and sustainably boost the blue economy. Already, foreign countries are looking with interest at our level of knowledge and experience in this field. There is no doubt that the Belgian economy has a greater role to play in this area.
België kan buitenland leren zich doeltreffend tegen wassende water te wapenen