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
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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They are called the “ghost tracks” of Cape May County beach. And until a couple of years ago, no one had seen them in about 80 years.
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The government’s grand long-term blueprint for Hong Kong, which envisions a 1,000-hectare man-made island in the middle of the sea, could cost over HK$400 billion, a concern group estimated.
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The US nation’s last remaining coastal sand mine may face closure. The California Coastal Commission has put Marina’s Lapis sand mine on notice after a nearly six-year investigation into multiple violations of the state’s Coastal Act.
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The scale of the projects is dizzying. Country Garden’s Forest City, on four artificial islands, will house 700,000 people on an area four times the size of New York’s Central Park.
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In the Samoan island of Upolu, a villager is reporting seeing myriads of trucks loaded with sand mined from local beaches.
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According to scientists, sand mining is a direct threat to all the beaches of the peninsula, as in the south-west and on the east coast.
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Beaches are built one truckload at a time as the main ingredient in the State’s beach renourishemnt program – offshore sand – gets harder to find.
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