Category Archives: Sand Mining

The Economist explains: Why there is a shortage of sand

sand-mining-denis-delestrac
Bagged beach sand, extracted from the Indian Ocean’s nearshore floor, Maldives.
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)
“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 and Photograph by: “Sand Wars” Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013).

Excerpts;

It may be plentiful, but so is the demand for it…

Read Full Article; The Economist (04-24-2017)

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…

Why Sand Is Disappearing ; By John R. Gillis Professor Emeritus of History, Rutgers University (12-04-2014)
To those of us who visit beaches only in summer, they seem as permanent a part of our natural heritage as the Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes. But shore dwellers know differently. Beaches are the most transitory of landscapes, and sand beaches the most vulnerable of all…

Sand Thieves Are Eroding World’s Beaches For Castles Of Cash, by Martine Valo, Le Monde (09-2013)
The pillaging of sand is a growing practice in the world. This is because it represents 80% of the composition of concrete that it is the object of such greed…

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.

Line in the sand, Video, ABC News Australia / Foreign Correspondent (03-21-2017)

Cemex mine reflects human hunger for sand, California; Monterey County Now (01-14-2016)
The disappearance of the beach reflects an alarming reality: Southern Monterey Bay, Marina in particular, has the highest coastal erosion rate in the state of California. For more than 20 years, scientists have speculated about the sand mine’s contribution to that erosion rate, and a 2008 study concluded it was the primary cause. The Cemex mine in Marina is the only remaining coastal sand mine in the entire United States. Which leads to new questions…

This Journalist Is Going Through Hell For Exposing Illegal Beach Sand Mining In Tamil Nadu, Times Of India (03-21-2017)
All hell has broken loose since journalist Ravishankar published a four-part series on illegal beach sand mining along the Tamil Nadu coast…

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…

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

How Singapore is creating more land for itself


Sand barges. Photograph: © 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…”—Denis Delestrac-©2013, “Sand Wars” Award-Winning Filmmaker.

Excerpts;

The island off the southern tip of Malaysia reveals the future of building in an epoch of dwindling territory…

Read Full Article, The New York Times (04-20-2017)

Built on Sand: Singapore and the New State of Risk, Harvard Design Magazine (09-07-2015)
The island’s expansion has been a colossal undertaking. It is not merely a matter of coastal reclamation: Singapore is growing vertically as well as horizontally. This means that the nation’s market needs fine river sand—used for beaches and concrete—as well as coarse sea sand to create new ground…

“$100 Billion Chinese-Made City Near Singapore “Scares the Hell Out of Everybody”; Bloomberg (11-21-2016)

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.

How Sand Became One of Phnom Penh’s Hottest Commodities, Cambodia; Next City (09-08-2014)

Singapore Extends Its Coastlines With Illegally Dregded Sand From Neighboring States; Dredging Today (02-09-2011)

Global Witness, Shifting Sands, Singapore
Shifting Sand: how Singapore’s demand for Cambodian sand threatens ecosystems and undermines good governance
The island’s expansion has been a colossal undertaking. It is not merely a matter of coastal reclamation: Singapore is growing vertically as well as horizontally. This means that the nation’s market needs fine river sand—used for beaches and concrete—as well as coarse sea sand to create new ground…

Singapore And Jurong Island Reclamation; (09-12-2012)

What Happens to a Coral Reef When an Island is Built on Top? the Washington Post (07-11-2015)
Seven such coral reefs are being turned into islands, with harbors and landing strips by the Chinese military, and it is destroying a rich ecological network. “It’s the worst thing that has happened to coral reefs in our lifetime…”

Such Quantities of Sand, The Economist (07-27-2015)
Asia’s mania for reclaiming land from the sea spawns mounting problems…

Preventing Ecocide in South China Sea; Guardian UK (07-20-2015)
Land reclamation in the South China Sea could be damaging irreplaceable reef ecosystems, threatening the food security of millions. It’s time for a treaty, says leading scientist…

How and why China is building islands in the South China Sea, NewsWeek (03-29-2017)

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.

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Mutlti-Awards Winner 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. Land reclamation, shoreline developments and road embankments are using massive amounts of sand as well.
As of 2011-2012, when investigative filmmaker Denis Delestrac and team, were first collecting and unveiling unpublished sand mining datas and information from the professionals involved, the Sand business was estimated to be a $70 billion industry, worldwide…!—Denis Delestrac (©-2013)

Gambia: Tourism and the Environment – Tribute to the ‘Unsung Heroes’ Context


Beach pollution and coastal erosion, Gambia. Photo source: ©© Tjabeljan

Excerpts;

Gambia’s tourism industry was bedeviled with a range of menaces including – indiscriminate dumping and littering of our beaches, as well as debasing of our beaches through sand mining and related environmental malpractices to other areas frequented by our coveted guests and tourists. The need to tackle the environmental and sanitary challenges of tourism, head on, therefore became imperative…

Read Full Article, All’Africa (04-11-2017)

Why Africa’s ‘smiling coast’ is officially referred to as ‘The’ Gambia; Africa News (01-19-2017)

Gambia: Mangrove Regeneration and Coastal Erosion, All’Africa (12-02-2014)
The West African Birds Association has trained 120 young people from 24 schools and organizations within Banjul, and West Coast regions, building the capacity of young people on the importance of mangroves and the dangers of coastal erosion…

West Africa Is Being Swallowed by the Sea, FP (10-21-2016)
Encroaching waters off the coast of Togo, Ghana, Mauritania, and others are destroying homes, schools, fish, and a way of life…

Sand mining decimates African beaches, DW (02-15-2017)

The Market For African Beach Sand: Who’s Buying, Selling And Mining It?, AFK Insider (02-17-2017)
Sand mining on beaches and in riverbeds is a source of income for unemployed Africans, but it’s often an unregulated — or under-regulated — business. Environmental impact is a growing concern…

Can permaculture save Togo’s precious coastline from the ravages of sand mining? A Video


WATCH: A Deutsche Welle Video, published April 6, 2017.

Excerpts;

African countries are raising alarm because of their disappearing coastlines. Beaches erode mainly because of illegal sand mining. A Swiss foundation wants to help Togo restore its coastline…

Read Full Article And Watch Video by DW (04-06-2017)

Illegal Beach Sand Mining, Togo, a Youtube Video;
Despite a recent law prohibiting sand mining on Togo’s beaches, illegal sand mining continue, unabated…

Closure Of Illegal Beach Sand Quarries, Togo; Lome (01-24-2014)
The Togolese Minister of Mines, Noupokou Dammipi, said that the recent decision by the Government to close down 90% of the illegal sand quarries, was justified by reasons pertaining to environmental protection…

Sand mining decimates African beaches, DW (02-15-2017)

The Market For African Beach Sand: Who’s Buying, Selling And Mining It?, AFK Insider (02-17-2017)
Sand mining on beaches and in riverbeds is a source of income for unemployed Africans, but it’s often an unregulated — or under-regulated — business. Environmental impact is a growing concern…

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.

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)
As of 2011-2012, when investigative filmmaker Denis Delestrac and team, were first collecting and unveiling unpublished sand mining datas and information from the professionals involved, the Sand business was estimated to be a $70 billion industry, worldwide…!—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…”

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care

Madras High Court: the saga of illegal beach sand mining drags on

sand-mining-tamil-nadu
Lorry, sand and bricks. Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Chennai, formerly known as Madras, is its capital. Photo source: ©© Swamysk
As of 2011-2012, when investigative filmmaker Denis Delestrac and team, were first collecting and unveiling unpublished sand mining datas and information from the professionals involved, the Sand business was estimated to be a $70 billion industry, worldwide…!—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…” Captions by: “Sand Wars” Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013).

Excerpts;

As the saga of illegal beach sand mining drags on in the Madras high court, an interim order has finally called into question the role, or the lack thereof, played by the Centre over two decades in monitoring, curbing and enforcing laws preventing the illegal mining of beach sands from Tamil Nadu’s shores…

Read Full Article; The Wire (04-11-2017)

This Journalist Is Going Through Hell For Exposing Illegal Beach Sand Mining In Tamil Nadu; The Huffington Post Int. (03-17-2017)
All hell has broken loose since journalist Ravishankar published a four-part series on illegal beach sand mining along the Tamil Nadu coast…

Over 9 million metric tonnes of beach sand was illegally mined, Tamil Nadu; The Hindu (04-05-2017)
Despite a ban on mining of beach sand since 2013, illicit mining and transportation of beach sand continued on a massive scale. A court filing reports that in 2013, over 90 lakh tonnes (9 million metric tonnes) of beach sand had been mined from 2 districts located at the southernmost tip of peninsular India, in Tamil Nadu State…

Illegal sand mining — the open secret of a multi-million crore scam, India; YourStory (09-19-2016)
India’s booming 157 billion dollar construction sector is expected to grow in the coming years. This means that the demand for sand and other minor minerals will increase as well, making it more difficult for the government to curb the methodical and unlawful abuse of riverbeds and coastal areas…

How to Steal a River, By Rollo Romig, The New York Time (03-01-2017)
To feed an enormous building boom, India’s relentless sand miners have devastated the waterways that make life there possible.

Tragedy of The Commons: Corrosive Growth of the Illegal Sand Mining Mafia, The Citizen (01-04-2016)
Not many people may know that illegal sand mining is a nationwide phenomena in India, and with spurt in housing and infrastructure projects, the illegal sand mining is thriving beyond the ambit of formal economy and law and order. Sand is everywhere and so is the sand mafia…

India’s ‘New Cities’ Plan: Environment Not Included, Aljazeera (03-06-2015)
Sand – inexpensive and abundant – is a treasure to India’s builders and the construction industry, which employs some 40 million people. But the spike in construction means sand mining, both legal and illegal, will increase in coastal areas, riverbeds, creeks, and rivulets…

The Demand for Sand is so High There are Illegal Sand Mining Operations, The Smithsonian (07-20-2015)

Illegal Sand Mining is New Gold Rush in India, Gulf News (07-23-2013)

India’s beach sand-mining industry set to prosper under private sector (07-14-2016)
With the strangulation of rare earth supplies by China, India’s beach sand-mining industry has received a fillip to develop and expand…

Disappearing Beaches of India, The Hindu (06-06-2015)

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, 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…

Sand Mining in India: Learn More, Coastal Care

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care

Over 9 million metric tonnes of beach sand was illegally mined, Tamil Nadu


As of 2011-2012, when investigative filmmaker Denis Delestrac and team, were first collecting and unveiling unpublished sand mining datas and information from the professionals involved, the Sand business was estimated to be a $70 billion industry, worldwide…!—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…” Captions and Photograph by: “Sand Wars” Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013).

Excerpts;

Despite a ban on mining of beach sand since 2013, illicit mining and transportation of beach sand continued on a massive scale. A court filing before the the Madras High Court, reports that in 2013, over 90 lakh tonnes (9 million metric tonnes) of beach sand had been mined from 2 districts located at the southernmost tip of peninsular India, in Tamil Nadu State…

Read Full Article; The Hindu (04-05-2017)

Line in the sand, Video, ABC News Australia / Foreign Correspondent (03-21-2017)
The world is running low on sand. It’s a basic ingredient in construction – think skyscrapers, shopping malls, roads and windows – and cities are growing faster and bigger than at any time in history. Legal supply can’t keep up. So now organised criminals are hitting pay dirt, pillaging millions of tonnes of sand from the India’s beaches, riverbeds and hillsides…

This Journalist Is Going Through Hell For Exposing Illegal Beach Sand Mining In Tamil Nadu, Times Of India (03-21-2017)
All hell has broken loose since journalist Ravishankar published a four-part series on illegal beach sand mining along the Tamil Nadu coast…

Illegal sand mining — the open secret of a multi-million crore scam, India; YourStory (09-19-2016)
India’s booming 157 billion dollar construction sector is expected to grow in the coming years. This means that the demand for sand and other minor minerals will increase as well, making it more difficult for the government to curb the methodical and unlawful abuse of riverbeds and coastal areas…

How to Steal a River, By Rollo Romig, The New York Time (03-01-2017)
To feed an enormous building boom, India’s relentless sand miners have devastated the waterways that make life there possible.

Tragedy of The Commons: Corrosive Growth of the Illegal Sand Mining Mafia, The Citizen (01-04-2016)
Not many people may know that illegal sand mining is a nationwide phenomena in India, and with spurt in housing and infrastructure projects, the illegal sand mining is thriving beyond the ambit of formal economy and law and order. Sand is everywhere and so is the sand mafia…

India’s ‘New Cities’ Plan: Environment Not Included, Aljazeera (03-06-2015)
Sand – inexpensive and abundant – is a treasure to India’s builders and the construction industry, which employs some 40 million people. But the spike in construction means sand mining, both legal and illegal, will increase in coastal areas, riverbeds, creeks, and rivulets…

The Demand for Sand is so High There are Illegal Sand Mining Operations, The Smithsonian (07-20-2015)

Illegal Sand Mining is New Gold Rush in India, Gulf News (07-23-2013)

India’s beach sand-mining industry set to prosper under private sector (07-14-2016)
With the strangulation of rare earth supplies by China, India’s beach sand-mining industry has received a fillip to develop and expand…

Trimex to invest Rs. 2,500 cr. on beach sand mining, Andhra Pradesh; The Hindu (01-19-2016)
Indian mineral sand producer Trimex Group, will invest Rs. 2,500 crore (373 million USD) on mining beach minerals at Bhavanapadu and Kalingapatnam, two coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh state, located on the southeastern coast of the country. The company proposes the mining of 10 MTPA (10 million tonnes per annum) of heavy mineral sand along with pre-concentration plant of 1,525 tonne per hour…

Sand scarcity hits Mumbai’s first artificial beach project, DNA India (08-22-2016)

People on Coastline Suffering Due to Sand Mining, India; a NEWS X LIVE Video (08-19-2013)

Disappearing Beaches of India, The Hindu (06-06-2015)

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, 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…

Sand Mining in India: Learn More, Coastal Care

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care

Line in the sand, Video

sand-mining-denis-delestrac
Bagged beach sand, extracted from the Indian Ocean’s nearshore floor, Maldives.
As of 2011-2012, when investigative filmmaker Denis Delestrac and team, were first collecting and unveiling unpublished sand mining datas and information from the professionals involved, the Sand business was estimated to be a $70 billion industry, worldwide…!—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…” Captions and Photograph by: “Sand Wars” Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013).

Excerpts;

The world is running low on sand. It’s a basic ingredient in construction – think skyscrapers, shopping malls, roads and windows – and cities are growing faster and bigger than at any time in history.

In India, where the government promises to build the equivalent of a “new Chicago” every year, the demand is insatiable. Its construction industry is said to have tripled its sand consumption since 2000.

Legal supply can’t keep up. So now organised criminals are hitting pay dirt, pillaging millions of tonnes of sand from the nation’s beaches, riverbeds and hillsides. Construction wants sand hewn by water, not by wind. So it’s waterways, not deserts, that face devastation…

Read Full Article And Watch Video, ABC News Australia / Foreign Correspondent (03-21-2017)

This Journalist Is Going Through Hell For Exposing Illegal Beach Sand Mining In Tamil Nadu, Times Of India (03-21-2017)
All hell has broken loose since journalist Ravishankar published a four-part series on illegal beach sand mining along the Tamil Nadu coast…

Illegal sand mining — the open secret of a multi-million crore scam, India; YourStory (09-19-2016)
India’s booming 157 billion dollar construction sector is expected to grow in the coming years. This means that the demand for sand and other minor minerals will increase as well, making it more difficult for the government to curb the methodical and unlawful abuse of riverbeds and coastal areas…

How to Steal a River, By Rollo Romig, The New York Time (03-01-2017)
To feed an enormous building boom, India’s relentless sand miners have devastated the waterways that make life there possible.

Tragedy of The Commons: Corrosive Growth of the Illegal Sand Mining Mafia, The Citizen (01-04-2016)
Not many people may know that illegal sand mining is a nationwide phenomena in India, and with spurt in housing and infrastructure projects, the illegal sand mining is thriving beyond the ambit of formal economy and law and order. Sand is everywhere and so is the sand mafia…

India’s ‘New Cities’ Plan: Environment Not Included, Aljazeera (03-06-2015)
Sand – inexpensive and abundant – is a treasure to India’s builders and the construction industry, which employs some 40 million people. But the spike in construction means sand mining, both legal and illegal, will increase in coastal areas, riverbeds, creeks, and rivulets…

The Demand for Sand is so High There are Illegal Sand Mining Operations, The Smithsonian (07-20-2015)

Illegal Sand Mining is New Gold Rush in India, Gulf News (07-23-2013)

India’s beach sand-mining industry set to prosper under private sector (07-14-2016)
With the strangulation of rare earth supplies by China, India’s beach sand-mining industry has received a fillip to develop and expand…

Trimex to invest Rs. 2,500 cr. on beach sand mining, Andhra Pradesh; The Hindu (01-19-2016)
Indian mineral sand producer Trimex Group, will invest Rs. 2,500 crore (373 million USD) on mining beach minerals at Bhavanapadu and Kalingapatnam, two coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh state, located on the southeastern coast of the country. The company proposes the mining of 10 MTPA (10 million tonnes per annum) of heavy mineral sand along with pre-concentration plant of 1,525 tonne per hour…

Sand scarcity hits Mumbai’s first artificial beach project, DNA India (08-22-2016)

People on Coastline Suffering Due to Sand Mining, India; a NEWS X LIVE Video (08-19-2013)

Disappearing Beaches of India, The Hindu (06-06-2015)

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, 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…

Sand Mining in India: Learn More, Coastal Care

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care

How and why China is building islands in the South China Sea

sand-barges
Sand barges, Hong Kong, South China Sea. Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care

Excerpts;

China has been building manmade bases over some of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea since 2014, specifically targeting shallower areas, sandbanks, and reefs—islands, the shallower the better; a place that won’t sink under a load of concrete.

China has also used reefs and rocky outcrops to its advantage.

To construct the base of the island, sand is piled on the seabed or reef, and then a thick layer of rocks are placed on that. Finally, a thick layer of cement is added to the first two layers. Chinese engineers building islands follow a similar principle that engineers constructing the Palm Islands in Dubai followed, says Mark Jackson, senior lecturer in post-colonial geographies at the University of Bristol. This requires an enormous amount of sand, and China has mainly gathered it using dredgers that grind up the material on the seabed, turn it into fine sand, and then suck it it up through tubes.

The environmental impact of dredging activity is huge—a tribunal at the Hague, by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, slammed China in July 2016 for causing what it described as “ irreparable harm to the marine environment.” The tribunal also criticized China for destroying coral reefs, which it had a duty to protect—international law says that anyone building an island must undertake a thorough environmental assessment beforehand…

Read Full Article, NewsWeek (03-29-2017)

Great Wall Of Sand: Chinese Mischief at Mischief Reef, The New York times (04-12-2015)

China’s island Factory, BBC News(09-09-2014)
New islands are being made in the disputed South China Sea by the might of the Chinese state. But a group of marooned Filipinos on a rusting wreck is trying to stand in the way…

“$100 Billion Chinese-Made City Near Singapore “Scares the Hell Out of Everybody”; Bloomberg (11-21-2016)

The Rising Environmental Toll Of China’s Offshore Island Grab; Yale E360 (10-10-2016)
To stake its claim in the strategic South China Sea, China is building airstrips, ports, and other facilities on disputed islands and reefs. Scientists say the activities are destroying key coral reef ecosystems and will heighten the risks of a fisheries collapse in the region…

What Happens to a Coral Reef When an Island is Built on Top? the Washington Post (07-11-2015)
Seven such coral reefs are being turned into islands, with harbors and landing strips by the Chinese military, and it is destroying a rich ecological network. “It’s the worst thing that has happened to coral reefs in our lifetime…”

Preventing Ecocide in South China Sea; Guardian UK (07-20-2015)
Land reclamation in the South China Sea could be damaging irreplaceable reef ecosystems, threatening the food security of millions. It’s time for a treaty, says leading scientist…

Such Quantities of Sand, The Economist (07-27-2015)
Asia’s mania for reclaiming land from the sea spawns mounting problems…

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.

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Mutlti-Awards Winner 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. Land reclamation, shoreline developments and road embankments are using massive amounts of sand as well.
As of 2011-2012, when investigative filmmaker Denis Delestrac and team, were first collecting and unveiling unpublished sand mining datas and information from the professionals involved, the Sand business was estimated to be a $70 billion industry, worldwide…!—Denis Delestrac (©-2013)

Sand mining ban lifted on beach in Suriname, causing public backlash


Four barges are currently mining shell sand at Braamspunt beach in Suriname, following a year-long ban of mining activities at the beach. This image was taken on March 9. Photo credit: Professor Sieuwnath Naipal.

By Rachel Fritts / Mongabay – Published under Creative Commons By NC-ND;(03-27-2017)

  • Sand mining could decrease the ability of Braamspunt beach to protect Suriname’s capital city from rising sea levels and storms surges.
  • Conservationists also fear for sea turtles nesting on the beach, which may be disturbed by the bright lights and loud noises of the industrial activity.
  • Sand mining in coastal environments has become a global industry, threatening biodiversity and natural defenses against climate change.

When environmental activist Erlan Sleur heard that four sand mining barges had been spotted at Braamspunt beach, he dropped everything. Construction work on his house could wait.

“I wanted to go by boat to Braamspunt to see for myself what was true before I took action,” he said.

By the time he left, video footage of the sand mining had gone viral on social media, prompting an online petition. Four boatloads of people accompanied Sleur to protest at Braamspunt on February 18, two days after news broke of sand mining on the beach. Sand is a key component of concrete and asphalt, and coastal sand mining can be a cheap way to obtain this essential building material…


A boatload of people arriving at Braamspunt beach on February 18 to protest sand mining. Photo courtesy of Erlan Sleur, ProBioS.


Signs from February 18 protest organized by ProBioS founder Erlan Sleur. Photo credit: Erlan Sleur, ProBioS.

The sand mining barges sighted at Braamspunt came as a shock to the public and to local NGOs alike. Sand mining had been banned at the beach since December 2015, and a 2016 WWF Guianas environmental impact report strongly recommended a permanent ban.

The report states that Braamspunt and other beaches on Suriname’s low-lying coast must stay intact to perform their role as a natural coastal defense system. Braamspunt’s proximity to capital city Paramaribo, home to 250,000 people, makes it especially important as a wave buffer. The beach also serves as a nesting ground for leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List, and green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), considered Endangered.

Initially, the government appeared to comply with WWF Guianas’ recommendation. However, last month the Minister of Natural Resources Regilio Dodson issued mining permits to four Surinamese construction companies – NV Sarika, Gebroeders Soebratie NV, Rock & Dirt Shippers, and NV en Handelmij Dharmsing NV – to mine on the beach. While Dodson has claimed that WWF Guianas softened their recommendation during private talks in January, they deny this is the case.

“WWF adhered to the scientific recommendations that state that no sand mining should be done at Braamspunt,” Jerrell Pinas, a WWF Guianas representative, told Mongabay. He added that they “do not see the basis for misinterpretation.”

Minister Dodson was approached for comment but declined to respond.

Erlan Sleur’s environmental activism organization, Protect our Biodiversity in Suriname (ProBioS), and local NGOs such as the Green Heritage Fund, Conservation International Suriname, and WWF Guianas, are currently working together to push for the sustainable management of Braamspunt beach and Suriname’s natural resources – management that does not include sand mining.

The demand for sand

Far from being a local Surinamese problem, sand mining is a growing international concern. A recent article in the Guardian called it “the global environmental crisis you’ve never heard of.”

Sand is an invisible but essential building block in urban development. It is a key ingredient of glass, concrete, and roads. Over half of the world’s growing population lives in cities, and that percentage is expected to increase in coming years. The 40 billion metric tons of sand needed to prop up such unprecedented urban growth has to come from somewhere.

Previously, companies looked to land-based sources like quarries and riverbeds, but they are now turning to coasts and oceans to supply the world’s construction boom. Coastal sand mining has already destroyed some beaches and even entire islands.

“I think it’s always a bad option to mine on the coast,” said Pascal Peduzzi, a United Nations environmental program researcher and sand mining expert. Peduzzi said that sand mining risks coastal erosion, reducing protection from sea level rise and storm surges, and negatively impacting fisheries and coastal biodiversity.

These looming threats have already inspired protests and bans all around the world. But a sizeable and profitable sand mining black market has also arisen. In India, the “sand mining mafia” allegedly has enough wealth to bribe the government to turn a blind eye, according to activists in the country.

If sand mining continues unchecked the results could be devastating, warns Peduzzi.

“We still think that the world is infinite. Yes, there is a lot of sand, but it is not infinite.”

Where sand stands in Suriname’s coastal system

In Suriname, sand mining remains legal. However, sand is an integral part of the country’s coastal system, and removing significant amounts through mining, could have devastating consequences.

Suriname has a dynamic coast comprised of a number of mud banks that migrate westward, shrinking and expanding over time. In high wave energy areas between these mud banks, sand banks called “cheniers” rise up 2-4 meters above the muddy foundation, serving as natural flood protection and wave buffers. The mangroves sheltered by such cheniers then defend against coastal erosion.

This naturally occurring system of mud banks, cheniers, and mangroves provides a free protection service to the nearly half a million people who live along Suriname’s coast. But not everyone sees it that way.

“I think the common feeling is that we have a lot of mangroves,” said Sieuwnath Naipal, a Surinamese national and hydrologist at Anton de Kom University. If natural protections are stripped away and mangroves are destroyed, however, “you have to take over the protection and other functions of the mangroves by yourself, and then you have to pay for it.”

Currently, the government has no official plan for replacing vanishing natural coastal defenses. As most of the country’s inhabitants live near the coast, this could prove disastrous in light of climate change.

“Suriname is one of the top seven most endangered countries for sea level rise,” said Ramses Man of Conservation International Suriname. “It is a very low country, especially in the coastal area … If the sea level rises by one to two meters, then most of Paramaribo will be gone in 50 to 60 years.”

The chenier currently protecting Paramaribo and nearby mangroves is called Braamspunt.


Braamspunt is a shell sand beach that sits on top of a mud flat at the mouth of the Suriname River. It serves as a wave breaker and flood defense for Paramaribo North. Photo credit: Google Earth.

The battle for Braamspunt

Just weeks after the beginning of the new year, Laurens Gomes, WWF Country Representative for Suriname, received a call. After a year-long ban, the Ministry of Natural Resources wanted to know how sand mining could begin again at Braamspunt without going against WWF Guianas’ recommendation. Gomes replied that the results of the impact report were unambiguous – any sand mining at all would cause significant damage.

In February, mining began again without WWF’s knowledge, timing that directly coincided with the beginning of Braamspunt’s sea turtle nesting season.


Braamspunt beach provides a nesting ground for a significant number of Atlantic leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea). Photo credit: Jerrell Pinas, WWF Guianas.


200 people demonstrated in front of Suriname’s Parliament building on February 24, in a protest organized by ProBioS. Some members of Parliament visited the beach themselves on the same day. Photo credit: Erlan Sleur, ProBioS…

Erlan Sleur has already organized two protests on the turtles’ behalf – the first, spontaneous protest on February 18, and a second involving 200 people on February 24 in front of Parliament.

He is not the only one concerned for the turtles’ safety.

While mining activities are currently to the west of turtle nesting grounds, Braamspunt’s size and shape are in a constant state of flux.

“We believe the population of marine turtles will rely more and more on the western part of the beach, at or very close to the mining activities,” said Pinas with WWF. “In the coming season or a next season, the options for nesting will be significantly limited due the mining impacts.”

Nesting female turtles and their hatching offspring might already be suffering ill effects.

“The fact that they [are] mining at night using big flood lights is already an important disturbance of the natural behavior of the sea turtles,” said Monique Pool, founder of the Green Heritage Fund. These concerns were echoed by Sleur and Conservation International Suriname.

At least seven nesting sea turtles have been found dead at or near Braamspunt since mining began.

The government has blamed the fishing industry for the turtles’ deaths. However, conservationists say the loud noises and bright lights of late-night mining activities can confuse adult and hatchling turtles, potentially driving them to exhaustion and increasing their risk of drowning and entanglement. More research is needed to understand the full effect of sand mining on turtle behavior.


Dead green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) found on Braamspunt beach on February 20. It had likely been dead for a week when it was discovered. Photo credit: ProBioS.

The way forward

Suriname’s NGOs hope to work out a sustainable solution that will be both economically and environmentally beneficial to all who depend on Braamspunt’s continued existence.

“If a government really is committed to sustainable development they should integrate and recognize the economic, environmental and social concerns of all stakeholders,” said Pool.

She stressed that ecotourism operators and fishermen who rely on Braamspunt’s biodiversity do not necessarily have other income options if the beach is destroyed.

“Sand mining could potentially harm a lot of people who live on very low incomes,” she warned.

Meanwhile, WWF Guianas, CI Suriname, and the Green Heritage Fund hope that the government will be open to exploring alternative materials or more sustainable locations to fill the construction industry’s sand demand.

“We don’t say that you cannot make any money on nature, but take the natural resources that are sustainable,” said CI Suriname’s Ramses Man. “Just think about what you take.”

Original Article And Learn More, Mongabay (03-27-2017)

Impacts of sand mining on beaches in Suriname; WWF (02-2016)
The goal of this report is to inform the Surinamese Government and Public on the impacts of sand mining on beaches in Suriname, based on the analysis of satellite images of the Suriname coast, and on ground observations on Braamspunt beach, and the necessity for conservation of beach sand budgets, beaches being a fundamental element of the coast of Suriname.

The battle for the Surinamese sand: turtle vs. construction industry; NOS- (Original Surinamese Dutch version) (02-20-2017)
More than a hundred activists left last Saturday to Braamspunt, the northernmost tip of the Suriname River, to protest against the excavations which began here again for a week in the sand tongue…

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, 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.

Sand Thieves Are Eroding World’s Beaches For Castles Of Cash, by Martine Valo, Le Monde (09-2013)
The pillaging of sand is a growing practice in the world. This is because it represents 80% of the composition of concrete that it is the object of such greed…

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…

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care
As of 2011-2012, when investigative filmmaker Denis Delestrac and team, were first collecting and unveiling unpublished sand mining datas and information from the professionals involved, the Sand business was estimated to be a $70 billion industry, worldwide…!—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), “Sand Wars” Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker.