Durban, South Africa. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care
Illegal sand mining in South Africa is starving beaches of sand, ruining rivers, and endangering lives.
Mining has already cut coastal sand supply by as much as 70 percent in the municipality of Ethekwini, which includes Durban, according to a study by South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)—repeating a pattern that is playing out around the world as cities spread.
Each year, miners dig up more than 400,000 cubic meters of sand from Durban’s rivers, enough to fill 160 Olympic swimming pools. This sand would normally be deposited on beaches and help offset coastal erosion. At current mining rates, Durban’s beaches are predicted to contract, on average, by more than a meter each year…
The environmental loss of illegal sand mining in South Africa, ENCA (01-07-2016)
Research shows that KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape are home to more than 200 illegal sand mining operations. Umvoti River sand is as good as gold in the construction industry. Its stellar components have placed it among the best sand in South Africa for building purposes. But this comes at a great environmental loss…
South Africa Dune Mining Whips Up Sandstorm, CNN (07-09-2012)
For centuries, the massive sand dunes overlooking the warm waters off the South African east coast have created a majestic scenery, acting as a natural wall between the sea and the land environment. In recent years, mining companies have been eager to dig inside these dunes to extract the valuable minerals they contain…
“The Shore Break,” A Movie From Riley Grunenwald; Variety (05-02-2016)
A gorgeous stretch of the Wild Coast is the object of a standoff between corrupt pro-mining forces interested in mining the local beach sand for titanium, and a South African coastal community. The drama is structured around two diametrically opposed protagonists. A film review by Variety…
Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report (GEA-March 2014)
Despite the colossal quantities of sand and gravel being used, our increasing dependence on them and the significant impact that their extraction has on the environment, this issue has been mostly ignored by policy makers and remains largely unknown by the general public.
In March 2014 The United Nations released its first Report about sand mining. “Sand Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.
The Conservation Crisis No One Is Talking About, TakePart (09-21-2016)
Beaches around the world are disappearing. No, the cause isn’t sea-level rise, at least not this time. It’s a little-known but enormous industry called sand mining, which every year sucks up billions of tons of sand from beaches, ocean floors, and rivers to make everything from concrete to microchips to toothpaste…
Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013)
“Sand is the second most consumed natural resource, after water. The construction-building industry is by far the largest consumer of this finite resource. The traditional building of one average-sized house requires 200 tons of sand; a hospital requires 3,000 tons of sand; each kilometer of highway built requires 30,000 tons of sand… A nuclear plant, a staggering 12 million tons of sand… “Denis Delestrac (©-2013).
Beach and dune sand mining, South Africa. © Photo courtesy of: Denis Delestrac
As of 2011-2012, when investigative filmmaker Denis Delestrac and team, were first collecting and unveiling sand mining datas and information from the professionals involved, the Sand business was estimated to be a $70 billion industry, worldwide…!—Denis Delestrac (©-2013)