The world’s beaches are being mined for sand for a variety of uses (aggregate in concrete, fill, beach renourishment). The practice is often very destructive and poorly managed (or unmanaged). This is a global phenomenon (Morocco, Caribbean Islands, India, South Africa and more). This theft of beach and dune sand is a direct cause of erosion along many shorelines. It is very damaging to the beach fauna and flora, ruinous to beach aesthetics, and frequently causes environmental damage to other coastal ecosystems associated with the beach such as wetlands.
Another major impact of beach sand mining is the loss of protection from storms surges associated with tropical cyclones and tsunamis. Some communities affected by the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean had higher storm surges probably due to beach sand mining resulting in fatalities. Sometimes it is difficult to tell that a beach has been mined. Sand extraction becomes difficult to recognize as the beach readjusts to a new profile after a few storms. But historic accounts of beaches in the Caribbean often reveal that beaches have been narrowed considerably. Mining is particularly senseless in a time of rising sea level when sand is sorely needed as a storm energy buffer.
Surfing in / Sand Mining
Auckland City’s recreation committee chairman, says a $5 million beach rebuilding plan is gathering momentum. Where, however, does he hope to source the sand for the next eight Auckland beaches requiring replenishment?
The push to exploit natural resources is increasingly being matched by resistance from affected communities. After several years of escalating opposition by residents of Kulon Progo, a coastal farming community, to a project to mine iron deposits in the sand beneath their farms, conflicts and arrests concern affected communities.
The commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection has given Plum Island homeowners permission to “mine” sand in an effort to replenish the dunes here.
Illegal sand miners across the island of Nevis have been warned to stop their illegal activities or face equipment seizure, arrest and prosecution.
It all started after the civil war in our country when most of the houses were burned, leaving people homeless. When people were finally ready to rebuild their homes, contracts were given to Chinese and Senegalese construction companies which led to a huge demand for sand. Now, sand mines have become a place where otherwise unemployed young people can find work…
Be the Change: Petition: Let’s save the sand and the surfing beaches of Anglet, Côte Basque, France.
As sand mining in Barbuda continues, concerns mount as to when this practice will ever finally stop. Sand mining is a direct cause of erosion, and impacts local wildlife, it causes problems for those who rely on fishing for their livelihoods, as well as the destruction of picturesque beaches.
Every day, 180 trucks chug their way to the banks of a river near Lake Victoria and leave laden with sand. Their cargo fuels Kenya’s construction boom and the local labour market, but the extraction could spell disaster for the village of Nyadorera.
Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has informed the shipping, harbour craft and pleasure craft communities in Singapore’s waters that the reclamation of Jurong Island (Phase 4) and construction of jetty off Temasek Fairway will take place from 15 March to 14 August 2013.