Ocean Film Fest 2010: The Battle Over Beaches in Puerto Rico (Video)
In Puerto Rico, it is illegal for developers to create projects that close off public access to the ocean. Yet, well-connected developers are still able to do just this. The Edge of the Sea is a 26-minute documentary that explores the issues of how privatization of public marine areas affect the social and environmental fabric of Puerto Rico. Focusing in on a 61-year-old fisherman from a small village that has experienced massive coastal development at the cost of fishermen and the marine life, the documentary explores the battle over beach-front property.
Erosion of the beaches is a primary effect of development, and residents of Rincón, the fishing village highlighted in the film, have seen their beaches erode by 1 to 3 meters a year. The film follows the fisherman - Pauco - in his 8-year battle against a local developer who is planning mega condo project on one of Rincón's most popular public beaches.
Fortunately, in this instance, the ruling in the court case was in favor of the village, giving precedent for future lawsuits against developers. However, Puerto Rico isn't the only place where beachfront tourism is causing problems. It seems everywhere there is major development near beaches, pollution and problems follow. Luckily, there are some green options if you want to spend some guilt-free vacation time in the sun.
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