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The High Cost of Sand Mining in Coastal Ecosystems

News Deeply recently published a piece about the harmful impacts that sand mining has on coastal ecosystems.This issue presents a very real threat to flats habitats, and is yet another example of why we need habitat protections to ensure a healthy fishery in the future. (Photo Credit: Steve Austin/Flickr)

Researchers say the world faces a sand crisis as skyrocketing demand for the building material leads to the destruction of coastal environments and marine life.

When people picture sand spread across idyllic beaches and endless deserts, they understandably think of it as an infinite resource. But as we discuss in a just-published perspective in the journal Science, overexploitation of global supplies of sand is damaging the environment, endangering communities, causing shortages and promoting violent conflict.

Skyrocketing demand, combined with unfettered mining to meet it, is creating the perfect recipe for shortages. Plentiful evidence strongly suggests that sand is becoming increasingly scarce in many regions. For example, in Vietnam domestic demand for sand exceeds the country’s total reserves. If this mismatch continues, the country may run out of construction sand by 2020, according to recent statements from the country’s Ministry of Construction.

Click here to read the full article.