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
Researchers have discovered that suspended sediment damages fish gills and can increase the rate of disease in fish. Suspended sediments result from flood plumes, coastal agricultural and industrial development and from dredging operations and are increasing in coastal waters worldwide.
The ongoing beach sand mining in Buchanan communities seem to be undermining government’s and her partners collective efforts to prevent reoccurrence of the devastation of sea erosion in Buchanan City. “On a daily basis, trucks are seen hauling sand from the beach… this is scary and environmentally dangerous.”
Sandy beaches are habitat to many invertebrate biodiversity and threatened vertebrate species. However, extraction of sand is widespread along many developing nations’ beaches destroying the ecosystem services the area provides.
World’s largest coral reef to remain on UN’s watchlist as draft ruling calls on Australia to ‘rigorously’ implement its conservation commitments. Environmental groups consider the reef – regardless of the Unesco ruling in June – technically in danger.
Washington hopes Southeast Asian nations to take a more united stance against China’s rapid acceleration this year of construction on disputed reefs.
The Department of the Environment will confirm how it intends to deal with the controversial issue of sand dredging in Lough Neagh in the next few days. Sand has been removed from the lough since the 1930s, and is used to supply the construction industry.
The U.S. and most members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations want a halt to the projects, which they suspect are aimed at building islands and other land features over which China can claim sovereignty. U.S. officials say China has reclaimed about 2,000 acres of dry land since 2014.
The government, hoteliers and civil society are stepping up the pressure on Thandwe authorities to curb rampant sand mining at Myanmar’s premier beach destination, Ngapali.
San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) unanimously approved a 10-year mining permit for sand removal from San Francisco Bay, and from two other areas near Suisun. The amount of sand the permit requests is 15 times greater than the annual amount of sand that comes into the bay from the delta.