Beach sand for sale on a retail store shelf, California. The tag reads “Made in China.” Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care
“Sand is the second most consumed natural resource, after water…” Captions by “Sand Wars” Award-Winning Filmmaker: © Denis Delestrac (©-2013).
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)
Un élu breton s’est aperçu que du sable, provenant de sa commune, était en vente sur le net. Un fait, qui peut paraître banal, mais qui révèle des tensions plus profondes liées à cette matière rare.
Ce sont de petites annonces, a priori anecdotiques, qui ont alerté les habitants du Finistère. Pour trois ou quatre euros, rapporte France Bleu, de petits sachets de sable, issus de plages bretonnes, à l’instar de Camaret ou Penmarc’h, et empaquetés comme de la drogue, sont vendus sur Internet. Sans doute, pour des collectionneurs de granulats. Impossible de savoir qui est le vendeur, lequel se présente sous un pseudonyme.
A french mayor discovered that sand from the town’s local beach, was for sale on the internet. If perhaps seemingly inconspicuous at first glance, this occurence instead reveals far deeper tensions related to the exploitation of this finite ressources.
The discovery of an a priori anecdotal internet ads rose concerns amongst local residents. According to the radio network France Bleu, are offered for sale on internet for only 3 or 4 euros, little bags of sand coming from some beaches in Brittany, and packaged similarly as if it were drugs trafficking.
Most probably these bags of sand are destined to be purchased by arenophiles. As for the seller, it is impossible to retrieve the source as the operations are made under the cover of a fake name.
“Selling beach sand is illegal,” confirmed the french’s official coastal protection agency Conservatoire du Littoral. Collecting beach sand is a public domain violation sanctioned by fines and restitution obligations…
French mayor draws a line in the beach sand; Business Day (04-25-2016)
The growing global sand and gravel exploitation has not spared France’s beaches either. Under what has been called the “Le Matelier project,” two companies are considering extracting about 13-million cubic metres of beach sand and gravel for 30 years, in the Gironde estuary.
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.