Sand Mining

Beach Sand mining on the beach in Morocco View Sand Mining Gallery

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.

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Sand becomes “increasingly scarce and expensive”

News, Sand Mining
Oct
16

A symposium taking place at Dutch Design Week later this month will discuss the rapid depletion of the world’s sand reserves, which could leave supplies of the high-quality sand used in the glass industry exhausted within 20 years.

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How a worldwide sand shortage could impact the design world

News, Sand Mining
Oct
12

Later this month, Dutch Design Week will host a symposium entitled “The Abundance and Scarcity of Sand.” Notable speakers include geologist and author Michael Welland, as well as Denis Delestrac, whose 2013 documentary, Sand Wars, showcased the lengths that contractors and smugglers alike will go to hoard and sell a commodity second only to freshwater, in terms of consumption.

Comments Off on How a worldwide sand shortage could impact the design world

French beaches’ sand for sale illegally on internet

Sand Mining
Oct
11

A french mayor discovered that sand from the town’s local beach, was for sale on the internet. Maybe rather inconspicuous at first glance, this occurence instead reveals far deeper tensions related to the exploitation of this finite ressources.

Comments Off on French beaches’ sand for sale illegally on internet

The world hungers for sand

The ravenous hunger for sand worldwide was spotlighted in the 2013 documentary “Sand Wars” by French filmmaker Denis Delestrac, which warned that illegal sand mining could make beaches a thing of the past by the end of the 21st century.

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A looming tragedy of the sand commons

Because of the difficulty in regulating their consumption, common-pool resources are prone to tragedies of the commons as people may selfishly extract them without considering long-term consequences, eventually leading to overexploitation or degradation. Even when sand mining is regulated, it is often subject to rampant illegal extraction and trade.

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Sand Mining: Growing Pains of Cross-Border Trade

News, Sand Mining
Aug
29

When powerful storms strike, like Typhoon Hato in southern China or Hurricane Harvey in Texas, the surging water scatters tons of sand – an essential ingredient required for the rebuilding soon to follow. Such storms add to growing global demand for sand with poor consequences for the economy and environment.

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Why Sardinia’s tourists taking sand as souvenir face fine

Famed for its pristine beaches, the Mediterranean island of Sardinia has hit back at holidaymakers who have been pinching its sand.

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Kenya’s sand wars

Communities are pitted against sand harvesters, powerful cartels and one another as demand for sand in Kenya grows.

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Trouble in paradise: the Canary Island beach accused of illegally importing sand

News, Sand Mining
Jul
29

Investigation launched into allegations that sand in Gran Canaria resort was sourced from Africa’s last colony, in breach of international law.

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Sand Mining

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Learn simple things that you can do to help protect beaches starting with simply educating others about the beach thereby helping us celebrate the beauty of the world’s beaches.


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  • Recent / Sand Mining

    Sand becomes “increasingly scarce and expensive”

    October 16th, 2017

    A symposium taking place at Dutch Design Week later this month will discuss the rapid depletion of the world’s sand reserves, which could leave supplies of the high-quality sand used in the glass industry exhausted within 20 years.

    Read More

    How a worldwide sand shortage could impact the design world

    October 12th, 2017

    Later this month, Dutch Design Week will host a symposium entitled “The Abundance and Scarcity of Sand.” Notable speakers include geologist and author Michael Welland, as well as Denis Delestrac, whose 2013 documentary, Sand Wars, showcased the lengths that contractors and smugglers alike will go to hoard and sell a commodity second only to freshwater, in terms of consumption.

    Read More

    French beaches’ sand for sale illegally on internet

    October 11th, 2017

    A french mayor discovered that sand from the town’s local beach, was for sale on the internet. Maybe rather inconspicuous at first glance, this occurence instead reveals far deeper tensions related to the exploitation of this finite ressources.

    Read More

    The world hungers for sand

    September 30th, 2017

    The ravenous hunger for sand worldwide was spotlighted in the 2013 documentary “Sand Wars” by French filmmaker Denis Delestrac, which warned that illegal sand mining could make beaches a thing of the past by the end of the 21st century.

    Read More

    A looming tragedy of the sand commons

    September 8th, 2017

    Because of the difficulty in regulating their consumption, common-pool resources are prone to tragedies of the commons as people may selfishly extract them without considering long-term consequences, eventually leading to overexploitation or degradation. Even when sand mining is regulated, it is often subject to rampant illegal extraction and trade.

    Read More

    Sand Mining: Growing Pains of Cross-Border Trade

    August 29th, 2017

    When powerful storms strike, like Typhoon Hato in southern China or Hurricane Harvey in Texas, the surging water scatters tons of sand – an essential ingredient required for the rebuilding soon to follow. Such storms add to growing global demand for sand with poor consequences for the economy and environment.

    Read More

    Why Sardinia’s tourists taking sand as souvenir face fine

    August 24th, 2017

    Famed for its pristine beaches, the Mediterranean island of Sardinia has hit back at holidaymakers who have been pinching its sand.

    Read More

    Kenya’s sand wars

    August 19th, 2017

    Communities are pitted against sand harvesters, powerful cartels and one another as demand for sand in Kenya grows.

    Read More

    Trouble in paradise: the Canary Island beach accused of illegally importing sand

    July 29th, 2017

    Investigation launched into allegations that sand in Gran Canaria resort was sourced from Africa’s last colony, in breach of international law.

    Read More

    Sand is so important, people kill for it; plus more facts and figures about one of California’s greatest resources

    July 22nd, 2017

    Summer seems incomplete without a day at the beach with your toes in the sand. We know you’re there to relax and not think about much, but here are a few facts about sand.

    Read More