Sand dunes: a natural barrier against swells and storms | Photo: Shutterstock

Sand dunes are natural barriers against the powerful waves and windy storms. Beach dunes are also a rich habitat for specific vegetation and wildlife.

The biggest and most common threats to sand dunes have a human origin - the construction of houses and condos, car parks, roads, piers, groins, as well as sand mining and farming are the worst enemies of these sand banks.

The sea level rise - a direct result of global warming - is also destroying these extraordinary natural fences. But again, the human touch is always present.

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Abandoned fishing nets: a threat to sea life | Photo: USFWS/Creative Commons

In just one year alone, Net Patrol has already removed 47,000 pounds of marine debris off of Kauai's coastlines.

The program, run by the Surfrider Foundation in Kauai, pulls derelict fishing nets from the Hawaiian shores. Barbara Wiedner and her crew dedicated 3,000 hours of volunteering to remove these floating threats from the ocean and beach.

Abandoned fishing nets have become a global danger, and they represent 10 percent of all marine litter. Ghost fishing gear is responsible for the death and injury of turtles and many other sea animals.

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Montauk, Long Island: fertilizers, pesticides, and stormwater runoff are threatening the quality of these waters | Photo: John Beil/Creative Commons

Surfrider Foundation released a documentary to raise awareness of the hidden dangers that are affecting the quality of the water in Long Island, New York. But "Surfrider Into The Sea" is just an example that could very well apply to any coastal region.

Life on the east end of Long Island revolves around water. The ocean provides work and pleasure for millions of people.

"There's a lot that's special about Long Island. The opportunities for outdoor recreation - particularly those centered around the water - are endless," underlines Andy Brosnan, a member of Surfrider Foundation's Eastern Long Island Chapter.

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