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
The once vast sand dunes in Sydney’s south have been farmed, trimmed down by sandmining, filmed and eroded by wind and rain. Now they face encroaching housing developments
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Stretching some 67 km north to south across Jamaica, the $600m four-lane nicknamed the “Beijing highway, is the single biggest investment by the Chinese in the Caribbean. This project is also prelude of the building of a $1.5bn deep water container port on islands off the south coast ,using dredging and land reclamation to accommodate mega ships coming through the expanded Panama Canal.
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After hatching and dispersing across the world’s oceans, the female leatherbacks return to their natal beaches to lay clutches of eggs in the sand. A new study offers fresh insights into their nesting choices. However, human encroachment on leatherback nesting beaches, in the form of beachfront construction and sand mining, is a major threat to the animals’ continuation as a species.
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Twenty years ago Ngapali Beach, on the Bay of Bengal, was an unspoilt gem in the crown of Myanmar’s natural treasures. Times have changed. Beach sand mining at Ngapali, has disturbed the natural balance.
A dossier and photo reportage by Oliver Soe Thet.
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A California appeals court has ruled that sand in the San Francisco Bay must be considered a public trust resource, potentially challenging the practice of mining for sand in the Bay that’s in turn used in construction projects.
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With king tides, persistent winds and large waves from Tropical Storm Erika and Hurricane Joaquin making erosion particularly bad this year, the demand for sand is high – but is it possible we could run out?
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Sir Tim Smit has signed a contract to build an Eden Project on the east coast of China. He said it would be an “iconic building” to demonstrate the region’s commitment to sustainability. The new Eden will be located on a barren piece of reclaimed land that sits on a convergence of two rivers near Qingdao.
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Trois jours par semaine, les travailleurs de Larache, au Maroc, amènent des bulldo-zers sur la plage et prennent autant de sable qu’ils le peuvent. Quoique leurs patrons disposent de permis, ils viennent aussi en toute illégalité les week-ends, se servant d’ânes et de pelles pour ravager un peu plus le paysage.
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Brittany’s shores are in peril. A large-scale offshore sand dredging project, where hundreds of m3 of sand are going to be extracted, is about to become a devastating reality. Be the Change Petition: “Sand Dredging: Let’s Save Brittany’s Shores.”
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