A looming tragedy of the sand commons

Posted In Inform, Sand Mining
Sep
8

beach-sand-mining
Beach and dune sand mining. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

“Sand is the second most consumed natural resource, after water…”—Denis Delestrac -(©-2013) “Sand Wars” Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker.

“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…”
As of 2011-2012, when investigative filmmaker Denis Delestrac and team, were collecting and unveiling sand mining datas and information from the professionals involved, “…the sand business was estimated to be a $70 billion industry, worldwide…!”—Denis Delestrac (©-2013)

Excerpts;

Between 1900 and 2010, the global volume of natural resources used in buildings and transport infrastructure increased 23-fold (1). Sand and gravel are the largest portion of these primary material inputs (79% or 28.6 gigatons per year in 2010) and are the most extracted group of materials worldwide, exceeding fossil fuels and biomass (2). In most regions, sand is a common-pool resource, i.e., a resource that is open to all because access can be limited only at high cost.

Because of the difficulty in regulating their consumption, common-pool resources are prone to tragedies of the commons as people may selfishly extract them without considering long-term consequences, eventually leading to overexploitation or degradation. Even when sand mining is regulated, it is often subject to rampant illegal extraction and trade (3). As a result, sand scarcity (4) is an emerging issue with major sociopolitical, economic, and environmental implications…

Read Full Article, Science (09-08-2017)

Sand Mining: Growing Pains of Cross-Border Trade, Yale Global (08-29-2017)

Sand Is in Such High Demand, People Are Stealing Tons of It, By Dave Roos; HowStuffWorks (03-06-2017)
As strange as it may sound, sand is one of the world’s hottest commodities. The global construction boom has created an insatiable appetite for sand, the chief ingredient for making concrete. The problem is that sand isn’t as abundant as it used to be. And when high demand and high value meets scarcity, you open the doors to smuggling…

The Conservation Crisis No One Is Talking About, By John R. Platt, TakePart (09-21-2016)
Beaches around the world are disappearing. No, the cause isn’t sea-level rise, at least not this time. It’s a little-known but enormous industry called sand mining, which every year sucks up billions of tons of sand from beaches, ocean floors, and rivers to make everything from concrete to microchips to toothpaste…

Tragedy of The Commons: Corrosive Growth of the Illegal Sand Mining Mafia; The Citizen (01-04-2016
Not many people may know that illegal sand mining is a nationwide phenomena in India, and with spurt in housing and infrastructure projects, the illegal sand mining is thriving beyond the ambit of formal economy and law and order. Sand is everywhere and so is the sand mafia…

Sand Thieves Are Eroding World’s Beaches For Castles Of Cash, by Martine Valo, Le Monde (09-2013)
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…

The Economist explains: Why there is a shortage of sand; The Economist (04-24-2017)
It may be plentiful, but so is the demand for it…

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 Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013)
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…? This investigative documentary takes us around the globe to unveil a new gold rush and a disturbing fact: the “Sand Wars” have begun…

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care


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


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

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