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Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Overexploitation Of Sand: The UN Sounds The Alarm

The mafia of the sand. This is not the title of a thriller but one of many threats to the environment. In a report, the UN warns about the over-exploitation of sand, the second most used resource by man after water.
Some 50 million tonnes are extracted each year for the construction of buildings, roads, glass, and even cosmetics. Sometimes in the greatest illegality. And at the risk of causing floods and even droughts.

We imagine the abundant sand because the deserts are full but it is not a resource so abundant because all the sand is not suitable for industrial use. On the other hand, the demand has tripled in twenty years, it is not expensive and that anybody can improvise producer or trafficker, its all-out extraction ravages the coasts and the rivers.

Remove the natural defenses

"Taking sand on the beach will remove the natural defenses against storm waves. It's going to have an impact on coastal flooding, says Pascal Peduzzi of the United Nations Environment Program. And when you extract sand on the rivers, because by changing the course of the river, if you dig the bottom, the dynamics of the river will change. There may be either slowdowns or accelerations, resulting in either more frequent or more intense floods, or even droughts."

Asia and Africa, in full economic and demographic boom, are the first consumers of sand and China alone swallow more than half of the world production, reports our correspondent in Geneva, Jérémie Lanche.

The UN calls on governments to improve the traceability and sustainability of sand extraction. Also to abandon the pharaonic projects of urban sprawl on the sea, or the construction of towers ever higher and ever more unoccupied.

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