Our incomprehensible relationship with the sea – Nabil Al-Hadi

Posted in: Wednesday, 11 May 2022 – 19:45 | Last update: Wednesday 11 May 2022 – 19:45

Because most Egyptian cities are somehow connected to the Nile, the longing for a walk along that beautiful blue invites me as it invites thousands and perhaps millions in Egypt, especially in the days of Eid. This Eid I visited an area of ​​the Alexandria Corniche that I had not visited for months.

You walk along the Corniche and see the sea and explain; And stand to meditate and smell its refreshing scent. Then you walk a bit and you see a place that was recently a cafe by the sea, but it has been removed, so you increase your happiness and invite those with you to see how the distance we walk has expanded and we see the sea. Then you walk a bit and find yourself in the middle of a bunch of young people full of energy, even though the place for pedestrians is not big enough to accommodate all these hikers. Then you see another cafe with a few people sitting, but to see the sea you have to look through them, which is obviously annoying? Then we walk a bit and if another cafe fills your nose with the smell of food being prepared in a very narrow space south of the narrow aisle in which we walk with difficulty, we can not even turn our face and to the sea ​​does not look, and the cafe tenant means nothing but to get back what was spent and make a profit, so use the roof of the cafe as an additional space for its customers.

I saw the sea for a long time as I was coming from the train station, but now there is an upper bridge for cars between me and the sea. I could not understand at all the reason for its establishment, but it did the place a focus of many out of proportion buildings, including a large hotel, restaurants and cafes that I can barely count. This increased density distributed in different areas along the coast of Alexandria has nothing to do with beauty, but perhaps just the opposite.
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The next day I decided to walk across the bridge, which unfortunately does not have a sidewalk that accommodates pedestrians from start to finish. I then had the opportunity to see the crowded buildings from above, with many private beaches protected by concrete designed for protection from the sea, which must have been very expensive and of course I do not know who paid for it .

The question for me is whether this concrete marine protection is the best response to what is currently happening in terms of erosion and other problems on the beach, especially with what is expected soon of rising sea levels and the threat it poses, not just to Alexandria . but to millions of inhabitants along the Mediterranean coast in Egypt and others?

I understand that there are those who focus on the economic benefit that is nearby, especially since the sea is a place where most people like to be close. I do not have figures that show the impact of such investments and their concentration in a limited place on the Corniche on the city’s economy, especially to attract investments that can restore the prosperity of the city center. I hope there will be data from taxes and so on, which can paint a more accurate picture of the city’s economy and how it is changing, which will definitely help the city’s administrations to adopt rational policies what the benefits to society as a whole and work towards spreading it in a more equitable way.
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I’ve seen a building that was probably built in the first half of the twentieth century and repaired by its owners, and it looks in very good condition at least from the outside, and I hope it’s from the inside as well. But I have compared it to many buildings along the Corniche, their condition has deteriorated, some have already collapsed, others are close to collapse, and the inhabitants are absent from others, and it makes you wonder about the fate of that great wealth and why these investors do not think, perhaps in partnership with the local administration by giving incentives It is true for the owners of these buildings, to restore them properly and then rent, even temporarily, to offer to let life along the Corniche revive instead of those pathetic buildings now. Why do we neglect or forget what exists and leave it to the inevitable fate and continue to build what we think is the solution?

I imagine that any simple calculation of the yield of those activities protected by that concrete cannot cover the cost of that marine protection. Why if these buildings were erected? And is that benefit equivalent to depriving thousands, if not millions, of the positive health impact on their physical and psychological health, and reducing the cost of health care, at least in Alexandria?
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Many international organizations and research centers point to the importance of stopping the decline of nature and bringing it back to a state of prosperity if we are to save humanity from the great risks expected from climate change and the decline of natural diversity. . This direct connection between nature and an acceptable life, especially for our children, should be one of the main principles of urban workers; Because the constant deterioration of our relationship with nature, whether it be a sea, a river, a desert or otherwise, is pushing hard to the point of no return, not only for Alexandria, but for Egyptian cities in the general.

What I also read about the options available to meet this great challenge points to the so-called strategic refuge, or to leaving room for marine nature and the evacuation of land and water from human intervention, and away to move inward from the sea line for a sufficient distance. This is the most sustainable and often the cheapest solution, so we are still buying time by building those private beaches that will keep the sea even for a limited number of years coming in a desperate attempt by some to deceive themselves that the sea still well and that some of us can still enjoy it?
We must transform the state of undisciplined confrontation with nature as it occurs in our dealings with the sea into another state of reconciliation, concern, and true love that undoubtedly deserves. We need a little wisdom that compels us to think about what is happening and to think about its near and far consequences, and perhaps we ask at that time that much of that wisdom begin to to save what is easier, so that the domino effect begins on the rest of the Corniche so that we can restore it for those who strive for this wonderful nature, to talk to it and complain about their worries and share it. Their happiness and joys, they renew their energy and are inspired by the rhythms, which help them in the daily struggle to strive for a decent life and support others.

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