The Women Sand Thieves, Video

Posted In Blog, Sand Mining
Aug
5

Les Voleuses de Sable, Video

By Aurélia Michon and Régis Michel, France 3 Thalassa.

A Pacifico Island Production

The Women Sand Thieves

Translated from french original:
There is a small strip of land left to the whims of the Ocean.

450 km off the west coast of Africa, close to Mauritania and Senegal, with rocky mountains, lush valleys and sandy beaches, Cap Verde 10-islands archipelago appears as a small corner of paradise lost in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

And yet, these rocky islands have few resources to offer to the local inhabitants. Most raw materials are imported… except beach sand.

On the beaches, they are thieves, almost exclusively women, who collect sand, to be sold to the slow yet ever expanding construction industry.

Every day, hundreds of women scrape, shovel, dig, sift and hoard beach sand by the tons. The task is grueling, worsened by the scorching sun.

Once the shore is depleted, the women, tossed by waves and burnt by sea salt, sink and dredge relentlessly, even further into the sea.

The looting is so extensive that many beaches in Santiago, the main land, have virtually disappeared—all that remains is gravel. The disappearing beach takes on the appearance of open-pit mine. The ecological consequences are disastrous. The sea salt washed onshore by the surf ends up inland, and destroys crops and plantations.

The Cape Verdean government banned the extraction of sand in 2002, calling the latter a prime necessity. At Pedra Badejo, the great black sand beach is protected by the military to prevent its disappearance.

But the options are few and in a country where unemployment is high, sand has become, in too many cases, the sole and illegal source of income for women in the archipelago.

Meanwhile, young girls are pulled away from school, as early as 12 years old (as depicted in the above documentary) and brought to the shores, most of them crying at first, then docile, ultimately resigned to a strenuous and unsustainable life of sand stealing…

Cape Verde Voleuses de Sable

Les Voleuses de Sable, French Original Version

Il existe une petite bande de terre abandonnée aux caprices de l’océan. Entre reliefs escarpés, vallées luxuriantes et plages de rêve, le Cap Vert est un petit coin de paradis perdu au milieu de l’atlantique.

Et pourtant ces îles rocailleuses n’ont pas beaucoup de richesses à offrir à leurs habitants. La plupart des matières premières sont importées, sauf le sable. Du sable qui est devenu l’unique source de revenus pour les femmes de l’archipel. Elles le revendent à l’industrie du bâtiment, en pleine expansion.

Chaque jour, elles sont des centaines à gratter, retourner, tamiser les plages. Et quand il n’y a plus de sable, elles s’enfoncent encore plus loin… dans la mer.

Les conséquences écologiques sont désastreuses. Sur Santiago, l’île principale, le pillage est quotidien. Les plages disparaissent et le sel remonte à l’intérieur des terres, décimant les plantations.

Le gouvernement capverdien a interdit l’extraction de sable, qualifiant ce dernier de bien de première nécessité.

Mais les solutions sont rares et dans un pays où le taux de chômage est fort, les femmes n’ont de toute façon pas d’autre choix que d’être des voleuses de sable.

Original Video, Published on Youtube

Tags: ,

Sand Mining

You can make a difference and help save our beaches

Learn simple things that you can do to help protect beaches starting with simply educating others about the beach thereby helping us celebrate the beauty of the world’s beaches.


Join our campaign!

Sign the petition to end global sand mining.


  • Sand Mining Resources

  • More / Sand Mining

    Cities from the sea: the true cost of reclaimed land

    May 2nd, 2018

    Asia is growing. Literally. From Malaysia to Dubai, luxury developments are rising on artificial islands and coastlines. Everybody wins – except the local sea life and the fishermen who depend on it

    Read More

    It’s not just Xolobeni: What the Australian mining company did in the Western Cape; South Africa

    April 29th, 2018

    The Australian mining company seeking the right to mine in Xolobeni in the Eastern Cape, has been lashed for its treatment of a community in the Western Cape where it has been accused of breaching its legal obligations.

    Read More

    The Pearl, Qatar

    April 2nd, 2018

    The Pearl-Qatar, a man-made island spanning approximately 1.5 square kilometers (0.6 square miles), extends from the mainland, and once fully completed, The Pearl will create over 32 kilometers of new coastline.

    Read More

    Journalist investigating illegal sand mining cases run over by truck, MP, India

    March 26th, 2018

    A journalist investigating illegal sand mining cases in Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh was run over by a truck on Monday, media reports said.

    Read More

    Sand Mining in Uganda Poses a Serious Threat to the Environment

    March 25th, 2018

    Environmentalists in Uganda say an important wetland that runs along a highway linking the capital city of Kampala to the southwestern town of Masaka is being harmed by aggressive dredging to extract sand.

    Read More

    Sand: the new gold

    March 5th, 2018

    This is one of the most consumed natural resources in the world. In cambodia, its mining as lead to an environmental catastrophe, while in singapore sand has contributed to 24% of the island’s expansion.

    Read More

    Schoolboys employed in sand mining, Tamil Nadu, India

    March 3rd, 2018

    Poverty and proximity to riverbeds have been weaning away a number of children studying in government schools and pushing them into sand mining. The sand mafia, in a bid to find cheap labour, has been using schoolchildren to lift sand from the riverbeds. The unsuspecting youngsters fall prey to the designs of the mafia, tempted by the money on offer.

    Read More

    Asia’s hunger for sand takes a toll on endangered species

    March 3rd, 2018

    Across Asia, rampant extraction of sand for construction is eroding coastlines and scouring waterways. t’s a global concern, but especially acute in Asia, where all trends show that urbanization and the region’s big construction boom are going to continue for many years.

    Read More

    Archive / Sand Mining