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
State-owned miner may foray into rare earth minerals and beach sand mining, among others, according to official sources.
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Though it may sound counterintuitive to steal and sell sand in a desert region like the Middle East, sand mining is big business. For years sand mining has been a major source of income for organized crime figures.
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Laos: Chinese demand for sand and cement delivers wage for Laotian workers – but is destroying the Mekong
China world’s top consumer of sand – devouring more than 60 per cent of the global output and using more in four years than the US did in the entire 20th century.
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Rampant illegal sand mining and excavation of boulders from river beds are threatening the ecology of several rivers and all the three major river basins in West Bengal. Estimates suggest that there are at least 500 quarries in Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar and Cooch Behar districts alone.
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How big industries’ use of sand has compromised the health of California’s beaches and what recent action against the CEMEX plant means for the Monterey Bay.
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In Northern California’s Monterey Bay, a peculiar thing happens every time there’s a storm. The California Coastal Commission says that a mining operation has been illegally taking precious sand for years.
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Ever-escalating illegal sand mining operations which have been largely ignored over the years could soon become a thing of the past as government has warned that offenders would face the consequences of their actions.
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Excessive sand mining activities in the Maha Oya river had caused reduction of sand supply to the coastline, breaking the natural sand equilibrium of the beaches, a study reveals. The coastal stretch from Negombo to Chilaw has been identified as the most eroded coastline in Sri Lanka, of which between 80 and 85 per cent of the degradation is attributed to exacerbated sand mining in the Maha Oya.
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Senate leaders hit the brakes last week on a fast-moving set of amendments to state environmental laws with several coastal-related provisions, including one that would for the first time target North Carolina’s three great capes as a sources of sand for beach re-nourishment.
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