Category Archives: Sand Mining

World’s Largest Sea Turtle Nesting Beach in Peril Orissa Due to Massive Erosion

Orissa, bounded by the Bay of Bengal on the east, has a coastline of 480 km, stretching from the West Bengal border in the north to the marshes of Ichhapuram in Andhra Pradesh in the south. Photo source: ©© Pandyian


The world’s largest sea turtle nesting beach on the Orissa coast is in peril because of massive erosion over the past three years.

Wildlife activists are concerned over gradual destruction of the traditional nesting grounds of Olive Ridley sea turtles at Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary following illegal sand dredging at the Mahanadi river mouth…

Read Full Article, Dredging Today

Olive Ridley turtle in Gahirmatha of Orissa destroyed due to massive erosion, Orissa Diary News

Sea Turtles Of India
Threats to turtles in Orissa include beach erosion, non-human predation, exploitation for meat and eggs, Casuarina plantations and incidental catch in fishing gear. The local fishing communities do not generally eat turtle meat and eggs due to religious taboos.

Sea Turtles Egg Poaching Legalized In Coasta Rica: The Debate

Sand For Sale: Environment Ravages

Sand For Sale, Environment Ravaged, Cambodia

By © Denis D. Gray, AP Enterprise

Round a bend in Cambodia’s Tatai River and the virtual silence of a tropical idyll turns suddenly into an industrial nightmare.

Lush jungle hills give way to a flotilla of dredgers operating 24 hours a day, scooping up sand and piling it onto ocean-bound barges. The churned-up waters and fuel discharges, villagers say, have decimated the fish so vital to their livelihoods. Riverbanks are beginning to collapse, and the din and pollution are killing a promising ecotourism industry.

What is bad news for the poor, remote Tatai community is great tidings for Singapore, the wealthy city-state that is expanding its territory by reclaiming land from the sea. Sand from nearby countries is the prime landfill and also essential building material for Singapore’s spectacular skyline.

As more countries ban its export to curb environmental damage entire Indonesian islands have been all but wiped off the map suppliers to Singaporescour the region for what still can be obtained, legally or not. Cambodia, a poor country where corruption is rife and laws are often flouted, is now the No. 1 source.

Singapore is by no means the only nation taking part in what is a global harvest of sand from beaches, rivers and seabeds. Officials and environmentalists from China to Morocco have voiced concern and urged curbs. As construction booms in emerging economies and more sources dry up, however, exploitation of the remaining ones is likely to intensify.

Sand mining began anew in May on southwestern Tatai River, which empties into the ocean almost directly north of Singapore, across 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) of open water.

Despite denials by the main owner of sand mining rights in Koh Kong province, two Cambodian officials told The Associated Press that the sand is destined for the island nation.

Singapore will not say where its sand comes from; the Construction and Building Authority said it is not public information. The National Development Ministry said the state’s infrastructure development company buys it from “a diverse range of approved sources.”

The mining visible on the Tatai River clearly violates some of Cambodia’s own legal restrictions, not to mention a recent government order to suspend it temporarily.

Vessels of a Vietnamese company were tracked by boat from about 10 kilometers (6 miles) upriver to the Gulf of Thailand, where nearly a dozen seagoing barges, tugs hovering around them, took on the sand.

The AZ Kunming Singapore, a 5,793-ton (5,255-metric ton) barge pulled by the AZ Orchid, was seen arriving empty from the open ocean, its tug flying a Singaporean flag. Both are registered with the Singapore government, which would not comment on the barge’s cargo or destination.

Ships from several countries, including China, were spotted in sand-mining operations in Koh Kong province, where residents joked about going toSingapore and planting a Cambodian flag there.

The vessels included one from Winton Enterprises, a Hong Kong-registered group that was subcontracted to export sand to Singapore, according to Global Witness, a London-based environmental group that published a detailed account of the trade last year.

The report said that miners had penetrated protected mangrove, estuary and sea grass areas, breeding grounds for marine life along a coastline and hinterland harboring some of the country’s last wilderness areas.

Cambodia’s cabinet spokesman, Siphan Phay, who was investigating the issue in Koh Kong, appeared angry that the temporary halt order was being ignored. He described the activity as illegal mining destined for Singapore, a surprising statement given that government ministers awarded the concession.

A police officer in the economic crime division, who demanded anonymity given the issue’s sensitivity, also said the sand is going to Singapore.

Ly Yong Phat, who holds the major concession in Koh Kong, has at times openly acknowledged the Singapore connection. But in a recent AP interview, amid tightening restrictions and mounting criticism, he said his company had not shipped sand to Singapore for more than a year because “our sand did not meet their standards.”

The dredging, he added, was for local sale and to deepen river channels.

However, a Malaysian company, Benalec Holdings, said it was ready to tap up to 530,000 tons for a reclamation project in Singapore from several sources in Cambodia, including Ly Yong Phat’s LYP Group.

Known as the “King of Koh Kong,” Ly Yong Phat is one of Cambodia’s biggest tycoons and a senator with close ties to Prime Minister Hun Sen. His holdings include hotels, a casino and agricultural plantations.

Land reclamation has enlarged Singapore by more than a fifth, and up to 100 square kilometers (nearly 40 square miles) more are slated for reclamation by 2030. What was once seabed is now Changi, among the world’s finest airports, and more recently the Marina Bay complex, which includes a 2,560-room hotel and casino developed by Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Mountains of sand are needed for such fills. U.N. statistics show Singapore imported 14.6 million tons last year, ranking it among the world’s top customers. Global Witness estimated that nearly 800,000 tons a year, worth some $248 million, were streaming to Singapore from Koh Kong alone.

The U.N. figures show that Cambodia supplied 25 percent of Singapore’s imports in 2010, followed by Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines. With its secrecy and lax enforcement of environmental regulations, Myanmar could emerge as a major supplier.

The damage caused by sand extraction has spurred clampdowns on exports.

Malaysia imposed a ban in 1997, though the media there frequently report on massive smuggling into neighboring Singapore. Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad complains that sand pirates are “digging Malaysia and giving her to other people.”

An Indonesian ban came in 2007, following years of strained relations with Singapore over the sand on islands lying between the two countries. When miners finished with Nipah Island, reportedly all that was left was three or four palm trees protruding above the waterline. Environmental groups say smuggling is believed to be continuing.

Vietnam banned exports late last year.

Cambodia outlawed the export of sand from rivers in 2009 but allows it from some seabeds. Recently, some government officials said that rivers where seawater flowed into fresh water, replenishing sand naturally, were exempt.

Global Witness spokesman Oliver Courtney said the trade in Cambodia revealed a “mismatch between Singapore’s reliance on questionably sourcedsand and its position as a leader for sustainable development.” The city-state prides itself on environmentally sound urban planning.

The dredging of the Tatai River began on May 17 “with a fury,” creating a veritable traffic jam on the water, said Janet Newman, owner of the riverside Rainbow Lodge.

“Before you could see crab pots bobbing in the river everywhere and fishermen going out. Now there is nothing and nobody,” the British woman said.

Chea Manith of the Nature Tourism Community of Tatai said 270 families along the river have seen an estimated 85 percent drop in catch of fish, crab and lobsters and were being forced to eke out a living from small garden plots. Tourists have all but vanished.

Armed with a petition, village leaders, tourism operators and a wildlife group met with Ly Yong Phat in early July. He appeared sympathetic, Newman said. He substantially reduced the dredging and has promised to stop altogether in October.

A subsequent letter from the Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology ordered the LYP group to halt operations temporarily on the Tatai, citing a breach of regulations. The letter was obtained by Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Post newspaper, which made it available to the AP.

Hun Sen himself expressed concern over the mining in the river.

“We hoped that the prime minister’s recent promise to review the impacts of the sand trade would lead to proper regulation of dredging operations,” said Courtney of Global Witness. “Unfortunately, the pledge does not appear to have been followed up with meaningful action.”

The mining has continued on the Tatai, and violations, such as dredging closer than 150 meters (165 yards) from riverbanks, were clearly evident.

The Post also obtained a Ministry of Industry, Mining and Energy letter extending LYP Group’s concession in Koh Kong until Sept. 2012.

“We are just little people. We cannot do anything,” Chea Manith said.

Newman sounded a more optimistic note. “It’s my hope that the LYP Group will become sympathetic through this experience of having seen the reaction from people passionate about protecting their environment,” she said. “It would be sad if they just went somewhere else to dump the same on others.”

Associated Press writers Sean Yoong in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Alex Kennedy in Singapore; Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines; Aye Aye Win in Yangon, Myanmar; and Sopheng Cheang in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 By The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Photos Gallery, Source: ©© Robert Tyabji Hoorob

A Stop Order To Excessive Dredging, Koh Kong, Cambodia

Excerpts; Cambodia Today

Ruling party senator Ly Yong Phat, the “king Of Koh Kong” has defied a stop order endorsed by the Cambodian Prime Minster to halt his controversial sand dredging activities on the Tatai river in Koh Kong.

The tycoon’s company had been found to be dredging beyond authorised boundaries and using too much equipment…

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A Stop Order To Excessive Dredging, Koh Kong, Cambodia

Sand Dredging Of Unprecedented Scale, Cambodia

Singapore’s Sand Import Threatens Cambodian Ecosystems

The Damages Caused By Singapore’s Insatiable Thirst For Land

Ghana’s Ongoing Battle Against Coastal erosion

african coastal erosion
Photo source: ©© NPJB


In response to Ghana’s gravely eroding coastline, the Government decided on a costly and controversial project: the building of a 68 million euro, 30 kilometres “Ada Sea Defense Wall”, to “salvage the people in the area from the ravages of the sea”, as Vice-President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, announced last Saturday.

The real story of coastal erosion is not about what lies at the water’s edge, but what occurs beneath the waves offshore.

africa beach erosion
Photo source: ©© NPJB

Read Original Article, Dredging Today

Battling Ghana’s Eroding Coastline

Shoreline Engineering: Stabilizing The Unstable, Coastal Care

Crumbling Sea Wall And accelerated Erosion: Winthrop Beach

Sebastian Inlets: A surfer’s view of shoreline engineering, By Eddie Jarvis, Coastal Care

The Negative Impacts Of Groins, Coastal Care

Cambodia: A Stop Order To Excessive Sand Dredging

Tatai River Cambodia. Photo source: ©© Hoo Rob

Excerpts; from Dredging Today

The “King of Koh Kong”, ruling party senator Ly Yong Phat, has been ordered to stop his company’s (LYP Group) massive sand dredging operation on the Tatai river amid concerns it is decimating the waterway and ruining the tourist trade.

LYP Group has a permit to dredge at seven different sites on the Tatai river, totaling more than 32 square kilometres.

The use of 20 to 30 boats, which each had a 500-cubic-metre capacity, eight cranes and four pumps, was “excessive”, and running dredgers 24-hours a day and pumping sand very close to river banks was a mistake…

Read Full Article, Dredging Today

Sand Dredging Of Unprecedented Scale, Cambodia

Sand Dredging Operations Of “Unprecedented Scale,” Cambodia

cambodia koh-kong-coastal
The most south-western province of Cambodia, Koh Kong has a long undeveloped coastline and a mountainous, forested and largely inaccessible interior. Caption and Image source: Wikipedia


A sand dredging operation of “unprecedented scale” on the Tatai river, in Koh Kong province, had decimated fish stocks, ruined eco-tourism projects and released foul-smelling gases into the air since it began in May…

Ruling party senator Ly Yong Phat’s company, LYP Group, had been granted sole rights to dredge sand in the area for export after applying for a licence late last year…

Read Original Article, By David Boyle and Vong Sokheng, in Dredging Today

Scale of Tatai Sand Dredging Permit Revealed

Shifting Sands, A Global Witness Report

Environment at risk as Cambodia exports millions of tonnes of sand to Singapore, new Global Witness report reveals, Global Witness May 2010
Global Witness released a 2010 report on Cambodia sand trade, that said that up to 796,000 tonnes of sand was being removed from Koh Kong each month. The group estimates that the annual value of these shipments is US$28.7 million in Cambodia and $248 million once the sand reaches Singapore, and that the trade is being conducted with little regard for international standards or local laws.

Sand Dredging Prompt Fishermen’s Protests

Sand Mining and Trade, Cambodia, Global Witness, 2009

Ongoing Sand Mining Mafia, Konkan coast, India

Sand mining, Alappuzha, Kerala State, India. Photo source: ©© Christopher Macsurak


Maharashtra’s creeks and the Konkan coast are falling prey to the sand mafia, which carries out its illegal activities with the blessings of local politicians. The builders’ lobby has a huge interest in sand got through the dredging, as the material is then sent to cities where it is used in construction. Illegal sand mining is estimated to have an annual turnover of Rs 1,000 crore, according to activists tracking the trade.

Sand mining had come to a near standstill last year after the Bombay High Court banned it…

Read Original Article, by Dredging Today

Illegal Sand Miners Remain Unfazed

How Sand Maning Mafia is Plundering Beaches and Creeks

Cuba: Sea levels to rise more than 30 in. by 2100

cuba sea level rise
“Train to Atlantis”. Santa Lucia Beach, Camagüey province, Cuba. Photo by: ©© Innoxiuss


Cuban scientists calculate that median sea levels around the Caribbean nation will rise more than 30 inches (75 centimeters) by the end of the century due to global climate change…

“Right now it is urgent to preserve mangroves, coral reefs, sea grass and sand beaches. Each of these ecosystems is a natural barrier to defend the coasts from the impact of climate change. If they deteriorate, the consequences will be worse.”Government scientist Marcelino Hernandez warned…

Read Full Article, AP / Huffington Post

Cuban coastline:Retreat up to 2.5 meters, The Watchers
Most of the 400 beaches of Cuba’s territory are affected by erosion with a receding coastline estimated at 1.2 meters per year, according to a study by the Institute of Oceanology of the island. The research ratified “the widespread nature of the Cuban beach erosion” due to phenomena such as sea level rise, sand mining, construction of buildings on natural dunes and incorrectlocation of piers…

Coast Guards Take Action Against Illegal Sand Dredging

Sand barge. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Coast Guard officers on Saturday arrested five crew members aboard a Chinese vessel that was illegally dredging sea sand, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) reported.

The CGA said recently Chinese vessels had entered Kinmen waters to mine the area for sea sand, and when Coast Guard officers approached them, they would flee to Chinese waters or pretend they had drifted into restricted waters because of a mechanical failure…

Read Full Article, Taiwan Focus News

Illegal Sea Sand Mining Leaves Behind Environmental Mess, China, in Coastal Care

Concerns Over Sand Mining and Beaches Alterations, Chennai Coast, India

Brick making is a common sight in rural Tamil Nadu around Chennai as the red clay is readily available and the demand for building materials ever growing. Structures like these dot the countryside as the bricks get slowly sold and removed. It is generally a tough livelihood done by the very poor at the margins and doesn’t provide them a very good life. It leaves the land pockmarked and unsuitable for later agriculture. But with the insatiable demand of the growing cities for bricks, sand and gravel, the mining and brick-making activities are not going to diminish any time soon. Captions and Photo source: ©© McKay Savage


On the afternoon of January 20, K. Saravanan, a member of the Urur Kuppam fishermen’s panchayat and an RTI activist, spotted a road being paved using construction debris on the beach leading up to the Adyar basin. Now, mounds of sand dot the Adyar river mouth as the Public Works Department (PWD) gears up to mine sand from the Adyar and Cooum river basins, on North Marina Beach.

While officials claim that it is routine removal of sandbars from the river mouth, fishermen and local residents allege that it is sand theft and could result in adverse ecological impact.

Read Full Article, “Concerns Over Sand Mining and Road Construction on The Beach,” The Hindu

“Illegal road on Thiruvanmayur Beach, Chennai’s Coast” a NDTV Video

Law makers turn law breakers