BY: QUENTIN STUCKEY
Although winter is currently on the way, most of us are still reminiscing and pining for those warm summer days. The summer is jam packed with recreational outdoor activities but let’s be honest, nothing really compares to a day spent at the beach. Tanning in the sun, building sand castles, playing a little beach volleyball and best of all, going for a refreshing dip in the water. It’s a very idyllic scene, but every time designer Sheng-Hung Lee would walk along the beach he couldn’t help but notice the concrete blocks along the beach.
According to TVN , Lee describes how he took notice of the concrete blocks positioned near the water on the Taiwan beach. These are blocks designed to fight erosion, but crashing waves often pull away the sand and actually make it worse (not to mention the wildlife disruption). Discouraged by the presence of these man-made blocks, Lee decided to come up with his own natural solution.
Lee figured out a better way- planting mangroves. He realized this was a better alternative when he discovered the positive benefits of planting mangrove trees (small trees and shrubbery) along the coast. Not only are mangrove trees natural, they are useful in catching sand and leaves through their long roots as they grow.
However, with sea levels rising, planting mangrove trees proves to be more difficult. With this in mind, Lee managed to come up with a further solution to protect the sustainability of beaches: tetraPOTs, a combination of mangroves and concrete tetrapots, using the tetrapots as a way to hold mangrove seeds and allow them to grow without interference. According to inhabitat, his design uses “the iconic four-pronged tetrapot shape with the insertion of a biodegradable pre-seeded pot to grow mangrove trees that filter water pollution, protect the shores, and beautify coastlines.”
Lee believes that as the trees grow, their roots are expected to extend out the sides of the pots, effectively holding the pots and the trees in place. Tests are going to be conducted with experts in ocean engineering, with the end goal being that Lee’s tetrapots can be placed on the beaches of Taiwan, Japan and Mumbai.
Lee has managed to create an effective and environmentally friendly design to allow for the best possible growth for these mangrove trees, potentially cutting down on beach erosion and allowing for idyllic summer days for generations to come.