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
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.
With inviting beaches that run for miles along South Florida’s shores, it is easy to put sand into the same category as turbo air-conditioning and a decent mojito…something ever present and easily taken for granted.
Beach Sand Mining activities in Tamil Nadu, are not only destroying the environment but also creating health issues for the people living on the coast line.
Some of South Florida’s most popular beaches will be particularly vulnerable to erosion and major damage if the state experiences a series of hurricanes, as it did in 2004 and 2005, because officials have run out of an important material: sand.
For centuries, the massive sand dunes overlooking the warm waters off the South African east coast have created a majestic scenery, acting as a natural wall between the sea and the land environment. In recent years, mining companies have been eager to dig inside these dunes to extract the valuable minerals they contain.
People from Viapar, a coastal village in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin district, say they have never seen sea waves reach so close to their homes. Several neighbouring villages echo the same story as years of illegal mining have led to heavy beach erosion across the region.
New signs have emerged in recent days which indicate that extreme measures are being taken in order to suppress evidence of the pernicious effects of the energy extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”.