Illegal beach sand mining. Photo source: © SAF – Coastal Care
“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…” Captions by “Sand Wars” Award-Winning Filmmaker: © Denis Delestrac (©-2013).
Residents are pleading with the government to come to their aid as illegal miners continue to mine sand and causing grave environmental hazard to the community.
Residents explained that there is continuous 24-hour, 7-day beach mining taking place. “Hundreds of pickup trucks haul loads of sand away each day and night…It is a commercial business for them. They are charging each pick-up truck some 200 plus LD per load at their make-shift gate.”
The Deadly Occupation Attracting Kenya’s Youth; IPS News (08-06-2014)
Sand is becoming a necessary component in fuelling the construction boom that is driving the rapid pace of urbanisation and rapid economic growth patterns in Kenya. Many of Kenya’s poor youth are turning to sand mining as a quick way of earning money, despite the deadly risks due to poor sand harvesting methods…
Jobless Youths Revert to Beach Sand Mining, John Obey Beach, Sierra Leone; Voice Of Sierra Leone (06-26-2013)
There´s a construction boom in Sierra Leone. For people desperate to earn a living, this all translates into break-neck, environmentally disastrous, 24-hour, seven-days-a-week operations to carry hundreds of tonnes of sand from the beaches and sell it to builders as construction material…
The Women Sand Thieves, Cape Verde; A Video (08-05-2010),
-Translation from french original by Claire Le Guern / Coastal Care –
“Every day, hundreds of women scrape, shovel, dig, sift and hoard beach sand by the tons…”
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.
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…
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…