The state is on yet another mission to restore Waikiki Beach.

NOTE: pick the correct link

Only six to eight years ago, the state dredged the ocean offshore and brought in hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of soil to restore the vanishing beach and coastline that is the heart of Hawaii’s tourism. In that process, the state irreversibly damaged the ecology of the ocean.

Any environmental clearances missed the central point that the state was messing with life in the ocean. Besides, one often wonders with what bias some environmental clearances are conducted.

When the soil was placed in Waikiki, it was soft, porous, and cushiony, allowing anyone to realize this was not the real thing one expects at a beach. It was only the reputation of Waikiki, the open spaces, the sunshine, and the touristy atmosphere that continued to bring visitors, otherwise as far as a beach goes, the state had succeeded to kill it.

They are at it again, using the same old technology that destroyed the sacred ocean in the first place. Why they don’t use a better technology that has been proven elsewhere and would be cheaper is very puzzling.

I am convinced that any technology that the engineers and contractors of Hawaii are not used to is apparently good enough to be ignored, no matter what the rest of the world and mainland USA may be advancing. What makes us think we don’t live in a semi-feudal culture?

Visitors walk thru shorebreak waves fronting the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort after high tide. 25 may 2017

Visitors walk through shore break waves fronting the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort after high tide, May 2017. The state is again replenishing lost sand but not in the most effective manner.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The use of geotextile tubes has been proven in the Yucatan Peninsula facing the Gulf of Mexico. Within only two to three years, multiple locations had natural sand deposited on the beach after tube installation, saving homes from erosion, and reviving once dead tourist areas.

I have visited those sites and seen the miracle first hand. The results were extremely obvious for anyone to understand, but good news comes slow to Hawaii, and when it comes, vested interests and jealous personalities are quick to kill it.

The first Waikiki beach restoration project cost about $7 million and had a life of only some seven years. For the length of coastline desired to be protected in Waikiki, it is estimated that geotextile tubes would cost only $3.5 million and last three times longer, to 21 years. That makes the geotextile tube system six times cheaper, but it is ironic that good arguments such as this only help to convince vested interests to dig in and galvanize support against the idea.

Besides, anyone supporting the idea of cheaper construction is quickly brought down by those wanting construction to be as expensive as possible.

No Visual Blight

Approximately one mile of geotextile tube will be needed offshore at Waikiki. By a rule of thumb, which is more scientific than science can prove, these tubes are usually placed such that their top is at the lowest level of the low tide visible on the beach.

This type of placement ensures there is no visual blight. Moreover, the distance to the tube offshore is large enough that it helps to expand the width of the beach to more than ever before.

Let’s aim to save our coastline in the most effective way possible.

The way it works is that when the receding wave takes sand particles back with it, the particles come up against the tube, acting as a submerged wall. The result is that instead of sand depleting from the beach, it actually accretes in a natural way, being further compacted by the weight of water above, and yielding a solid, shiny beach surface, without the ecological damage caused by dredging.

The geotextile tube system works and protects even against the damages of sea level rise.

Often, it is neither simple science nor advanced science that is used for the benefit of the state: it is only “business” science that gets most of the success.

However, let’s aim to save our coastline all around the Hawaiian Islands at the lowest and most effective way possible with the least environmental and ecological damage, in the most renewable way, provoking no protests in these — the spiritual isles of Hawaii.

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