Sand river mining in the Puna Tsang Chu, Punakha, Bhutan, January 2020. Photograph:Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care. As of 2011-2012, when investigative filmmaker Denis Delestrac and team, were first collecting and unveiling sand mining datas and information from the professionals involved, they found and reported that “the Sand business was estimated to be a … Continue reading Unsustainable sand mining is threatening lives along the Mekong River in Cambodia
Sand mining accounts for 85 percent of all worldwide mineral extraction, a $70 billion industry. In Cambodia, the practice is big business — but it comes with a price. Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports.
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.
Phnom Penh’s construction frenzy is fueling the need for sand dredging. According to the Cambodian government, between 15,000 to 20,000 cubic meters of sand per day is needed in Phnom Penh to sustain the city’s building boom.
In October Ly Yong Phat’s LYP Group had respected an agreement to stop sand dredging on the Tatai River in Koh Kong province by mid-October. But rather than respecting the written agreement from July 16, LYP had simply subcontracted out to another company to keep on dredging sand.
The “King of Koh Kong” has been ordered to stop his company’s massive sand dredging operation on the Tatai river amid concerns it is decimating the environment and ruining the tourist trade.
Sand dredgers have resumed operations of “unprecedented scale” in Koh Kong province’s salt-water estuaries since May, after a drop-off in dredging activities as a result of a 2009 sand-export ban.
Prime Minister Hun Sen banned sand exports in May 2009, yet sand mining continues in Koh Kong Province, the epicentre of the country’s corrupt dredging industry. Dredgers remove 25,000 tons of sand each day from the Cambodian seas to export.
Singapore, which prides itself on being one of the most environmentally friendly nations in Asia, is expanding its coastline with irresponsibly dredged sand from Cambodia, according to a report from an environmental NGO.