How Singapore is creating more land for itself


Sand barges. 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…”—Denis Delestrac-©2013, “Sand Wars” Award-Winning Filmmaker.

Excerpts;

The island off the southern tip of Malaysia reveals the future of building in an epoch of dwindling territory…

Read Full Article, The New York Times (04-20-2017)

Built on Sand: Singapore and the New State of Risk, Harvard Design Magazine (09-07-2015)
The island’s expansion has been a colossal undertaking. It is not merely a matter of coastal reclamation: Singapore is growing vertically as well as horizontally. This means that the nation’s market needs fine river sand—used for beaches and concrete—as well as coarse sea sand to create new ground…

“$100 Billion Chinese-Made City Near Singapore “Scares the Hell Out of Everybody”; Bloomberg (11-21-2016)

Sand Storm: $750 Million Worth of The Material is Unaccounted For in Cambodia; RFA (11-02-2016)
Nearly 50 civil society organizations called for the Cambodian government to join some other Southeast Asian nations and ban or severely restrict exports of sand to Singapore after it was revealed that nearly $750 million worth of the building material has disappeared from the country.

How Sand Became One of Phnom Penh’s Hottest Commodities, Cambodia; Next City (09-08-2014)

Singapore Extends Its Coastlines With Illegally Dregded Sand From Neighboring States; Dredging Today (02-09-2011)

Global Witness, Shifting Sands, Singapore
Shifting Sand: how Singapore’s demand for Cambodian sand threatens ecosystems and undermines good governance
The island’s expansion has been a colossal undertaking. It is not merely a matter of coastal reclamation: Singapore is growing vertically as well as horizontally. This means that the nation’s market needs fine river sand—used for beaches and concrete—as well as coarse sea sand to create new ground…

Singapore And Jurong Island Reclamation; (09-12-2012)

What Happens to a Coral Reef When an Island is Built on Top? the Washington Post (07-11-2015)
Seven such coral reefs are being turned into islands, with harbors and landing strips by the Chinese military, and it is destroying a rich ecological network. “It’s the worst thing that has happened to coral reefs in our lifetime…”

Such Quantities of Sand, The Economist (07-27-2015)
Asia’s mania for reclaiming land from the sea spawns mounting problems…

Preventing Ecocide in South China Sea; Guardian UK (07-20-2015)
Land reclamation in the South China Sea could be damaging irreplaceable reef ecosystems, threatening the food security of millions. It’s time for a treaty, says leading scientist…

How and why China is building islands in the South China Sea, NewsWeek (03-29-2017)

Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report (GEA-March 2014)
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.
In March 2014 The United Nations released its first Report about sand mining. “Sand Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Mutlti-Awards Winner Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013)
Sand is the second most consumed natural resource, after water. The construction-building industry is by far the largest consumer of this finite resource. Land reclamation, shoreline developments and road embankments are using massive amounts of sand as well.
As of 2011-2012, when investigative filmmaker Denis Delestrac and team, were first collecting and unveiling unpublished sand mining datas and information from the professionals involved, the Sand business was estimated to be a $70 billion industry, worldwide…!—Denis Delestrac (©-2013)

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

    Inside the deadly world of India’s sand mining mafia

    July 2nd, 2019

    India ranks second after China in its use of construction sand, a dwindling and increasingly valuable resource.

    Read More

    The crumbling coast: Mineral beach sand mining is eating away Kerala’s coast;Video

    June 26th, 2019

    Residents of Alappad, a seaside village in Kollam, Kerala, have begun the #savealappad campaign to stop sand mining in their village which is resulting in large chunks of land getting wiped out.

    Read More

    Sand mafias silence journalists in India

    June 22nd, 2019

    Up to 50 billion metric tons of sand and gravel are extracted every year worldwide. The inexhaustible need for sand from this rapidly-developing country is the breeding ground for illegal activities by what has come to be known as the “sand mafias”.

    Read More

    UN Report: Sand Mafias are Destroying Moroccan Beaches

    May 31st, 2019

    Sand mafias and illegal sand extraction are destroying beaches and threatening Morocco’s coastline, reminds the UN Environment Program.

    Read More

    Demand for sand: the largest mining industry no one talks about

    May 26th, 2019

    The world’s largest and perhaps most destructive mining industry is rarely discussed. Approximately 85 percent of all material mined from the earth is a simple and widely available resource: sand. Because it is so cheap and readily available, it is mined by everyone from guy with a shovel, to multi-million dollar machine operations.

    Read More

    Against the grain: anger grows at spike in ‘sand graffiti’ by tourists in Japan

    May 20th, 2019

    Local authorities in Japan have drawn a line in the sand amid anger over a rise in graffiti by foreign tourists disfiguring its pristine coastal dunes.

    Read More

    Rising demand for sand calls for resource governance, UN

    May 8th, 2019

    With the global demand for sand and gravel standing at 40 to 50 billion tonnes per year, a new report by UN Environment reveals that aggregate extraction in rivers has led to pollution, flooding, lowering of water aquifers and worsening drought occurrence.

    Read More

    South Florida beach town getting emergency sand infusion

    April 24th, 2019

    Sand-starved Dania Beach is getting an emergency infusion of that gritty stuff that gets washed away every year. Sand by the truckload is being brought in and deposited on the northern half of the beach near the pier.

    Read More

    Archive / Sand Mining