‘Houses On The River Will Fall’: Cambodia’s Sand Mining Threatens Vital Mekong

‘Houses On The River Will Fall’: Cambodia’s Sand Mining Threatens Vital Mekong


Sand river mining in the Puna Tsang Chu, Punakha, Bhutan, January 2020. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care.

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, they found and reported that “the Sand business was estimated to be a $70 billion industry, worldwide…! Sand is the second most consumed natural resource, after water…” —Denis Delestrac -(©-2013) “Sand Wars” Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker.

Excerpts;

Cambodia is experiencing a building boom that is transforming its capital, Phnom Penh. Sitting at the confluence of the Mekong and the Tonle Sap rivers, the city’s low-slung French colonial architecture is being replaced with high-rise apartment buildings, malls and luxury car dealerships. Sand from the Mekong’s sediment is key to that construction growth…

Read Full Article, NPR (02-27-2020)

Unsustainable sand mining is threatening lives along the Mekong River in Cambodia; Phys Org (01-14-2020)
Sand is a resource used in global construction and mined from rivers and coasts across the world. Now new research, as part of a project led by University of Southampton, has shown sand mining is causing river beds to lower, leading to riverbank instability and increasing the likelihood of dangerous river bank collapse, damaging infrastructure and housing and putting lives at risk…

In Cambodia, sand mining is big business — but it comes at a price; PBS (09-18-2019)
Sand mining accounts for 85 percent of all worldwide mineral extraction, a $70 billion industry. In Cambodia, the practice is big business — but it comes with a price. Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports.

Sand Storm: $750 Million Worth of The Material is Unaccounted For in Cambodia; RFA (11-02-2016)
Nearly 50 civil society organizations called for the Cambodian government to join some other Southeast Asian nations and ban or severely restrict exports of sand to Singapore after it was revealed that nearly $750 million worth of the building material has disappeared from the country…

Singapore’s data mirrors UN’s on Cambodia’s sand export numbers; The Phon Penh Post (10-19-2016)
Singaporean customs data on sand imports from Cambodia show near identical figures to those recorded by the UN, which last month were dismissed by a top official amid a reporting discrepancy in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The UN data showed $752 million in imports of sand from Cambodia since 2007, despite Cambodia reporting only about $5 million in exports to Singapore…

Cambodia digs into sand mining industry as beaches vanish, Reuters (11-05-2016)
Cambodian officials have promised to investigate problems in the sand mining business following complaints from fishermen that dredgers have been stealing the shore beneath their boats on an industrial scale…The ministry’s move came after the release of U.N. trade data compiled by campaigners this week, showing Singapore has imported more than 72 million tons of Cambodian sand since 2007…

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, Rarer Than One Thinks.”
“Sand Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013 in its french version: “Le Sable: enquête sur une disparition”, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.

Sand Is in Such High Demand, People Are Stealing Tons of It, By Dave Roos; HowStuffWorks (03-06-2017)
As strange as it may sound, sand is one of the world’s hottest commodities. The global construction boom has created an insatiable appetite for sand, the chief ingredient for making concrete. The problem is that sand isn’t as abundant as it used to be. And when high demand and high value meets scarcity, you open the doors to smuggling…

The Conservation Crisis No One Is Talking About, By John R. Platt, 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…

Demand for sand: the largest mining industry no one talks about; Inhabitat (05-23-2019)
The world’s largest and perhaps most destructive mining industry is rarely discussed. Approximately 85 percent of all material mined from the earth is a simple and widely available resource: sand. Because it is so cheap and readily available, it is mined by everyone from guy with a shovel, to multi-million dollar machine operations.

The world is running out of sand, The New Yorker (05-29-2017)

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013)
Is sand an infinite resource? Can the existing supply satisfy a gigantic demand fueled by construction booms? What are the consequences of intensive beach sand mining for the environment and the neighboring populations…? This investigative documentary takes us around the globe to unveil a new gold rush and a disturbing fact: the “Sand Wars” have begun…


Cambodia Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care


BE THE CHANGE:

PETITION: Take Action To End Global Beach Sand Mining, Coastal Care


Illegal beach and dune sand mining operations, near Tangier, Morocco. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Coastal Care

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