Vietnam enlists scientists to restore 'Queen of Beaches' to former beauty

By Hoang Tao   November 2, 2022 | 02:07 am PT
Vietnam enlists scientists to restore 'Queen of Beaches' to former beauty
Aerial view of the Cua Tung beach in Quang Tri, November 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Tao
The central Quang Tri Province has enlisted scientists to help restore a local beach, lauded by the French as the "Queen of Beaches," to its former beauty.

Cua Tung Beach in northeast Quang Tri and part of Vinh Linh District, is known for its bow-like shape and pristine white sands. In its heyday, the beach spanned 700 meters, with the sands spanning 25-30 meters, and visitors capable of wading chest-high into the water 100 meters offshore.

The beach was a popular destination to French people during colonial time in Vietnam.

In a conference late last month, Ha Si Dong, deputy chairman of Quang Tri, said the beach plays an important role in the provincial development strategy, as a famous destination that attracts tourists from many countries like Thailand and Laos.

However, since 2003, the construction of multiple structures along the Ben Hai estuary, including breakwaters, ports and bridges, has caused the water flow to change and erosion to occur, seeing the sands of Cua Tung beach lost to the sea.

Nowadays in the summer, the beach only spans five to seven meters, and the sand slope is becoming steeper than ever, discouraging tourists and affecting the livelihoods of locals. Since 2010, Quang Tri has been inviting scientists to study the water flow, its impacts on nature and the population, as well as to propose a plan to restore the beach to its former glory.

In two studies conducted in 2010 and 2019, Nguyen Quang Hung from the University of Natural Sciences said the impacts of the breakwaters at the Ben Hai estuary can be clearly observed. The sands are often trapped behind by the breakwater in the south, depriving Cua Tung Beach, located in the north, of its natural sand source. The pristine sands are therefore gone, replaced by a coarser version and an eroded shoreline.

Hung and his research team suggested bringing around 200,000-300,000 cubic meters of white sands from the south of the Ben Hai estuary to Cua Tung Beach, along with the construction of a breakwater about 200 meters from the shore. The plan is hoped to restore the pristine sands to the beach over a long period of time.

Tran Thanh Tung, from the Thuy Loi University, said the construction of an offshore breakwater would prevent sands from leaving the beach too much and reduce wave impacts on the shore.

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