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Can Lagos hold back the waves?
Sprawled around a lagoon, Nigeria's frenetic economic capital faces a threat from the Atlantic on its doorstep.
Ocean - Shoreline - Timescale - History—but - Waves
The ocean has pounded the soft, sandy shoreline on a timescale far surpassing human history—but now its waves spell a major threat to the city and its booming population.
The coastline is eroding, driven partly by higher water levels caused by global warming but also from the impact of dredging to provide sand for construction.
Warming - World - Bank - Study - March
Global warming, according to a World Bank study in March, is causing the Atlantic to invade Africa's western coast by up to four metres (13 feet) a year, badly hitting some economically vital areas.
Attempts have been made to defy the ocean—but critics say they have sometimes just led to new problems.
Construction - Project - Eko - Atlantic - Opinion
In particular, a high-end construction project called Eko Atlantic has divided opinion.
Launched in 2007 by billionaire investors with strong political backing, the scheme has been billed as a Dubai for Africa—a hyper-luxury enclave of skyscrapers built on land reclaimed from the seas.
Downturn - Years - Mammoth - Undertaking - Millions
An economic downturn in recent years has stalled the mammoth undertaking, but already millions of tonnes of sand have been hauled from the ocean floor to create a manmade peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic from the affluent Victoria Island.
Surrounding it is what the developers call the "Great Wall of Lagos", a barrier of rocks and five-tonne concrete blocks intended to run for 8.5 kilometres (more than five miles), designed to withstand the worst storms the Atlantic can throw at it.
Barrier - Length - Business - Hub - Victoria
While the barrier has still not reached full length, those responsible say it has "saved" the business hub of Victoria Island standing behind it from the ravages of the ocean.
"Today, Lagos is already seeing the benefits of the Great Wall, once flooded roads are now passable and abandoned properties have been reinvested," Eko Atlantic's website...
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