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
What do houses, streets, telephones and microchips have in common? They all contain processed sand. Now African countries are raising the alarm because of their disappearing beaches…
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The impact of illegal sand mining is being felt at Raigad district in Maharashtra, as NGO Awaaz Foundation identified 25 trees uprooted by alleged mechanical dredging at Nandgaon beach.
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A new survey has found almost two-thirds of New Zealanders believed beach erosion was worse than it was 20 years ago, and most were worried that some beaches might vanish forever. In many cases, New Zealand’s beaches were paying the price for overwhelming public popularity.
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A New York-based structural engineer, estimated that a 1,900-mile concrete wall – seemingly Trump’s original plan – would require about 339 million cubic feet (12.5 million cubic yards) of concrete. That is three times more than the Hoover Dam, that would be greater in volume than all six pyramids of the Giza Necropolis, and such quantity of concrete could pave a one-lane road from New York to Los Angeles, going the long way around the Earth.
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Just a few miles off New Jersey’s coast is a series of underwater hills on the ocean floor, made of perfect-quality beach sand tens of thousands of years old. The value of these ancient sand hills to sea life, fishermen, scientists and beach-building engineers has set up a fight between those who would protect them and those who would mine them. And that battle is expected to intensify as rising sea levels are expected to magnify.
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Every part of modern life is touched by technology, and every part of technology requires something that once came from the ground: the silicon dioxide in your cell phone, the phosphorous to grow your food, the copper in the wires that brought this article to your eyes, and a thousand other examples. This is the imprint photographer Edward Burtynsky felt compelled to capture.
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An investment company wants to build a sand mining and processing plant in 2 Wisconsin counties, that would eliminate about 17 acres of pristine forested wetland. Wetlands are valuable habits for fish and wildlife and control flooding. Approval of the project would mean the largest single loss of wetlands for a sand project in the region, since at least 2008.
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As ice continues to plague parts of Metro Vancouver, some beach-goers were spotted scooping up sand from Kitsilano Beach. Stealing a pail of beach sand is not a solution to Vancouver’s road salt shortage – and it could result in a hefty fine.
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The US is looking at Bahamian sand as a resource to shore-up Florida’s eroding coastline.
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