The Sand Thieves: World’s Beaches Become Victims of Construction Boom. It’s not Just Cape Verde.

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Illegal sand mining, coastal Morocco. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Sand is becoming so scarce that stealing it has become an attractive business model. With residential towers rising ever higher and development continuing apace in Asia and Africa, demand for the finite resource is insatiable.

The sand has long since disappeared from the high-tide shorelines at beaches like this in Cape Verde, with only dirt and stones left to mark the coastline. Once the sand disappeared on the shore, the people began venturing into the water to find it. They’ve since been mining away their island’s sand, one bucket at a time.

In Germany, too, firms have begun mining sand from the ocean floor. Using dredgers the size of aircraft carriers, they trawl the North and Baltic seas, with gigantic suction heads vacuuming the grains from the sea floor…

Read Full Article, Spiegel International (10-02-2014)

The Women Sand Thieves, Cape Verde; A Video (08-05-2010)
Every day, hundreds of women scrape, shovel, dig, sift and hoard beach sand by the tons.

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Denis Delestrac
“Sand is the second most consumed natural resource, after water. The construction-building industry is by far the largest consumer of this finite resource. The traditional building of one average-sized house requires 200 tons of sand; a hospital requires 3,000 tons of sand; each kilometer of highway built requires 30,000 tons of sand… A nuclear plant, a staggering 12 million tons of sand…”—Denis Delestrac

Sand Thieves Are Eroding World’s Beaches For Castles Of Cash, by Martine Valo, Le Monde
The pillaging of sand is a growing practice in the world. This is because it represents 80% of the composition of concrete that it is the object of such greed…

Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report
Sand and gravel are mined world-wide and account for the largest volume of solid material extracted globally. Formed by erosive processes over thousands of years (John, 2009), they are now being extracted at a rate far greater than their renewal. Furthermore, the volume being extracted is having a major impact on rivers, deltas and coastal and marine ecosystems (Figure 1), results in loss of land through river or coastal erosion, lowering of the water table and decreases in the amount of sediment supply. Despite the colossal quantities of sand and gravel being used, our increasing dependence on them and the significant impact that their extraction has on the environment, this issue has been mostly ignored by policy makers and remains largely unknown by the general public.

Let’s Talk About Sand: Denis Delestrac At TEDxBarcelona
Denis Delestrac latest feature documentary, “Sand Wars” is an epic eco-thriller that takes the audience around the globe to unveil a new gold rush and a disturbing fact: we are running out of sand! In this TEDxBarcelona talk, he explains us where sand comes from and where it ends up…


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PETITION: Take Action To End Global Beach Sand Mining, Coastal Care

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Illegal beach sand mining, near Tangier, Morocco. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care