Documentary ‘Sand Wars’ Highlights Local, Global Sand Crises

CEMEX extracts about 200,000 yds3 of sand from this back beach pond every year. Captions and Photograph courtesy of: © Gary Griggs


Every year, a Mexican concrete company removes 200,000 cubic yards of sand from a beach in the middle of the National Marine Sanctuary and no one says anything.

How can that happen?

That is the question UCSC professor Gary Griggs posed to those gathered in the Center for Ocean Health building at Long Marine Lab on Thursday before a screening of the documentary film “Sand Wars.”

According to Griggs, the company is Cemex and its operation near Marina is the only active beach sand mining operation along the U.S. shoreline.

“There are equal and opposite reactions when sand is removed from an area,” Griggs said. “In this case, the bluffs are eroding.”

As Griggs and “Sand Wars” demonstrate, sand has become a valuable resource worldwide due in large part to continuous construction…

Read Full Article, Santa Cruz Sentinel

Monterey Bay, California: Beach Sand Mining from a National Marine Sanctuary; By Gary Griggs (09-01-2014)
The 30-mile long, continuous sandy shoreline around Monterey Bay is the most visited stretch of shoreline on the central coast. Yet, it holds the dubious distinction of being the only active beach sand mining operation along the entire United States shoreline. To make matters even worse, it all takes place along the shoreline of a protected National Marine Sanctuary. Something is seriously wrong with this picture…

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Denis Delestrac
Sand: Most of us think of it as a complimentary ingredient of any beach vacation. Yet those seemingly insignificant grains of silica surround our daily lives.
Is sand an infinite resource? Can the existing supply satisfy a gigantic demand fueled by construction booms? What are the consequences of intensive beach sand mining for the environment and the neighboring populations?
Based on encounters with sand smugglers, barefoot millionaires, corrupt politicians, unscrupulous real estate developers and environmentalists, this investigation takes us around the globe to unveil a new gold rush and a disturbing fact: the “SAND WARS” have begun…

The Deadly Global War for Sand, WIRED Magazine (03-26-2015)

Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report (GEA-March 2014)

Illegal beach sand mining, near Tangier, Morocco. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care.
“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…” Captions by “Sand Wars” Filmmaker: © Denis Delestrac