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
Bringing in some significant changes in the way it governs its coasts, the government is moving to remove the ban on reclamation of land in coastal areas for commercial or entertainment purposes while also allowing tourism activities even in ecologically sensitive areas along the shores.
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Students, IT professionals and activists have pledged to stand by independent journalist Sandhya Ravishankar who is under attack for writing a series of articles on alleged illegal beach sand mining
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All hell has broken loose since journalist Ravishankar published a four-part series on illegal beach sand mining along the Tamil Nadu coast…
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To feed an enormous building boom, India’s relentless sand miners have devastated the waterways that make life there possible.
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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.
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In Kenya, as in most of the developing world, cities are growing at a frenzied pace. Creating buildings to house all the people and the roads to knit them together requires prodigious quantities of sand. As the price of sand goes up, the ‘mafias’ get more involved.
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The Lapis Sand Plant, in operation since 1906, is the nation’s last coastal sand mine. The California Coastal Commission has threatened to close the plant, but the company refuses to relinquish its claim to the uniquely coarse amber-colored Monterey sand, which it calls “Lapis Lustre.” But Cemex is the world’s second largest building materials company, and any attempt to kick it out is likely to immerse the state in years of expensive litigation.
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From Cambodia to California, industrial-scale sand mining is causing wildlife to die, local trade to wither and bridges to collapse. And booming urbanisation means the demand for this increasingly valuable resource is unlikely to let up.
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Deployment of sand mining surveillance system and patrol by special squads along coastal districts, especially those rich with major minerals, are some of the steps contemplated by Tamil Nadu government to prevent plunder of major minerals in the four southernmost coastal districts.
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