ARG-020

The following is a letter to the head of the tourism bureau on the island of Tria.

"Erosion of beach sand along the shores of Tria Island is a serious threat to our island and our tourist industry. In order to stop the erosion, we should charge people for using the beaches. Although this solution may annoy a few tourists in the short term, it will raise money for replenishing the sand. Replenishing the sand, as was done to protect buildings on the nearby island of Batia, will help protect buildings along our shores, thereby reducing these buildings' risk of additional damage from severe storms. And since beaches and buildings in the area will be preserved, Tria's tourist industry will improve over the long term."


Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.


In this letter, the author suggests that to stop the erosion of sands, the island of Tria should charge the visitors to the beach, which would raise money for replenishing the sand. Furthermore, since the beaches and buildings are expected to be preserved, the letter concludes that Tria’s tourist industry will improve in the long run. Although it seems to be very reasonable and convincing, with the information given in the letter the validity of such conclusion are not robust. Thus, we need more information to evaluate this argument.


To begin with, while the author stated that replenishing the sand could stop the erosion, the assumption within this claim is that the volume of sand lost due to erosion is smaller than the amount of sand that can be purchased from the increased revenue. Because no information is provided to prove that assumption, we need two pieces of evidence to further evaluate this statement. First, we need specific data on how much sand was lost due to erosion each year. Perhaps, detailed scientific research could give us an answer. Then, we need to find out about the price of new sand to predict how much sand Tria could in theory buy. If the amount of new sand greatly surpasses the researched amount of sand lost, we could agree that the negative effect of erosion on sand could be neutralized, which would strengthen the author’s suggestion. On the other hand, if it is smaller than the amount of sand lost, then the erosion will not be stopped and thus would substantially weaken the author’s point.


In addition, granted that replenished sand would stop the erosion, the author predicts that the sand could protect their buildings along the shore from additional damage of severe storms. However, we do not know the effectiveness of the sand in reality, particularly against severe stroms. In the letter, the author uses Batia as an example of protecting their building using sand. Nevertheless, the author does not indicate whether how strong Batia’s storms are. Therefore, the damage from strong storms of Batia’s buildings before and after replenishing the sand should be compared to know whether the sand was helpful or not.


Even if the data shows Batia’s buildings can sustain sever storms after replenishing the sand, it is necessary to consider if Batia’s success can be replicated in Tria. A detailed comparison of the buildings on two islands, for example, can help elucidate if Batia’s success should be attributed to factors other than replenished sand, such as architectural materials. At the same time, we should take the geographical differences between the two islands’ buildings into account. For instance, the buildings of Tria are along the shore; how about the buildings of Batia? If Batia’s buildings are also along the shore, the possibility of the sand protection be effective in Tria will be enhanced. Therefore, the author’s conlusion will be strongly supported. In contrast, if the buildings of Batia are far more near the island’s center than Tria’s buildings, it would lessen Tria’s compatibility with the same sand protection as Batia’s and the author’s suggestion would be less logical.


Finally, the preservation of the beach and the buildings along the shore may not necessarily mean that the tourism industry could continue to develop in long-term. As the author mentions, the proposed beach use charges could annoy tourists. Though he predicts the resentment to be short-termed, the true situation could possibly prove otherwise. If the number of visitors sharply decreases once Tria implements the charge and remains persistently low, then a tourism industry without visitors is impossible to keep developing. Of course, if there is evidence showing that a sufficient number of visitors will keep coming to Tria, the tourism industry would very possibly continue to grow over the long term, as the author predicts.


To conclude, replenishing the sand may help Tria’s tourism industry to develop in long-term, but the author does not provide sufficient evidence to support his suggestion. Thus our evaluation is contingent depending on the evidence that is yet to show.

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