Concrete as coastline rescuer

Dear Readers,

When opening the current issue of BFT International you may notice: we are reporting once again on the use of precast elements for coastal protection. Following the article “Sustainable coastline protection with noninterlocking concrete slab revetments” in BFT 10/2023, you will read in this issue on pp.62 to 65 about a Verkalit system that Berding Beton supplied for dike rehabilitation on Borkum. A coincidence? Or is the topic of coastline protection becoming increasingly important?

For none of us is new that the climate change causes the sea level to rise and leads to extreme floodings and storm surges. Coastlines, beaches and whole regions are changing. The sea level is rising at a rate of approximately 3.7 millimeters per year. This is the conclusion of the World Climate Council. Around 3.6 billion people live near the coast and are immediately threatened by the rising sea level. In order to respond to this threat, concrete often comes into play – for example in the form of tetrapods, concrete columns for dike covers, concrete block mesh for embankment protection, artificial reefs made of concrete or, as on Borkum, Verkalit blocks.

At first glance perhaps a paradox? Considering how much criticism our construction material is facing because of its (former) poor climate balance. And then, this very concrete is used to stop the consequences of the climate change? But as my colleague Silvio Schade in his editorial in the last issue of BFT –justifiably – so vehemently emphasized: concrete is becoming increasingly sustainable. And because of its properties it is outstandingly suitable for use on and in the sea, , so that I anticipate that we will again and again report on new similar projects.


Karla Knitter


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