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Jamaica's World-Famous 'Seven Mile Beach' Is Hit by Erosion

/ Source: Associated Press
Image: Tourists walk along a badly eroding patch of resort-lined beach in Negril, Jamaica
Sunbathers walk along a badly eroding patch of resort-lined beach in Negril, Jamaica, on Sept. 14.David McFadden / AP

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NEGRIL, Jamaica - Tourists from around the world are drawn to a stretch of palm-fringed shoreline known as "Seven Mile Beach," a crescent of white sand along the turquoise waters of Jamaica's western coast. But the sands are slipping away and Jamaicans fear the beach, someday, will need a new nickname. Each morning, groundskeepers with metal rakes carefully tend Negril's resort-lined shore. Some sections, however, are barely wide enough for a decent-sized beach towel and the Jamaican National Environment and Planning Agency says sand is receding at a rate of more than a yard a year.

"The beach could be totally lost within 30 years," said Anthony McKenzie, a senior director at the agency. Shrinking coastline long has raised worry for the area's environmental and economic future. Now, the erosion is expected to worsen as a result of climate change, and a hint of panic is creeping through this laid back village, one of the top destinations in a country where a quarter of all jobs depend on tourism.

Image: Tourists walk along a badly eroding patch of resort-lined beach in Negril, Jamaica
Sunbathers walk along a badly eroding patch of resort-lined beach in Negril, Jamaica, on Sept. 14.David McFadden / AP

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