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
A police operation recently uncovered a multimillion-dollar illegal sand mining site in St Catherine, Jamaica.
Sand mining in Kerala has become a lucrative industry these recent years, using 18 millions of sand today and expected to increase four times by 2020. A news video.
An interview with Denis Delestrac, writer and award-winning director.
Despite the police ban on the sand mining at Andhakaranazhi beach, local people are still illegally collecting sand from the beach, which is a famed tourist destination of Alappuzha.
Sand mining, a major environmental concern, will soon get international attention after it was included in the list of the new and emerging issues by the United Nations.
Sand wars: U.S. coastal towns in the market for sand, a CBS video.
I’ve heard that man’s best friend in not the dog, but reinforced concrete…
Allegations of illegal beach sand mining in southern Tamil Nadu gain considerable strength.
The pillaging of sand is a growing practice in the world. Taken by hand, three or four meters deep in the Maldives archipelago, or transported on a donkey, or sucked up by huge sand boats in Asia, coastal sand mining, authorized or unlawful, is exploding.