A beach is typically a flat, gently sloping strip of earth that often lies along the shoreline of an inland body of water, such as a lake, river, or ocean. Sand, pebbles, boulders, and shells cover many beaches. Most natural beach materials are deposited by erosion and weathering. When a body of water empties into another, called a bay, the beach may be referred to as a peninsula, cape, channel, berm, or bays.
Coastal erosion and wave activity can cause beach erosion and movement. Erosion occurs when a beach’s surface layer is washed away by rising sea levels or storm activity. Sand and debris carried offshore slides down slopes toward the coast, exposing rocks and vegetation below. As more waves come in, more sets apart, increasing the amount of beach exposed to wind and other beach erosion and wave activity.
Winds stir up ocean currents, which carry sand and other debris into the air and over coastal regions. The movement of ocean debris and winds along with the rising tide move sandy particles inland, thinning and breaking up the sand where it lies. This process affects the character of the beach, which varies greatly depending on the rate of surf and the position of the beach break. At low tide, a flat, grassy beach may be covered completely with pebbles and shells, while at high tide the beach will likely be filled with more compacted sand.
Most people associate open, sandy beaches with tropical or Caribbean vacations. However, even in North America or Europe many beaches are composed of compacted sand. In most developed countries, sandy beaches are rare, because development has prevented beach building. In many developing countries, however, open, sandy beaches are a very popular tourist attraction. Sand, especially quartz sand is used in many of the products we use, including jewelry, electronics, and fashion.
There are many types of beach, including public beaches, which offer public access, private beaches, cayes, etc., as well as golf courses, jogging tracks, etc. Public beaches, especially those that are close to sea level, are generally made for public use. Most public beaches have lifeguards and other protective services, as well as trash pick-up and maintenance. Private beaches are generally for private use only, and may be accessed by fee.
Beach pollution refers to the adverse affects of human activities on the environment surrounding the beaches, such as the loss of aquatic species due to erosion, and the death of beaches due to crowding, boating, chemicals, noise, sand, chemicals, erosion, and other factors. A beach pollution problem occurs when humans disturb the delicate balance of nature that exists around a sea or a beach. It can lead to the death of a beach, or a change in the environment which alters the way things should be, such as diminishing fish stocks, changing water temperatures, etc. The damage done by pollution can range from slight to severe, and can damage the fragile eco system which exists near some beaches.