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The Unsustainable Use of Sand: Reporting on a Global Problem

Leal Filho, Walter and Hunt, Julian and Lingos, Alexandros and Platje, Johannes and Vieira, Lara Werncke and Will, Markus and Gavriletea, Marius Dan (2021) The Unsustainable Use of Sand: Reporting on a Global Problem. Sustainability, 13 (6). ISSN 2071-1050

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Abstract

Sand is considered one of the most consumed natural resource, being essential to many industries, including building construction, electronics, plastics, and water filtration. This paper assesses the environmental impact of sand extraction and the problems associated with its illegal exploitation. The analysis indicates that extracting sand at a greater rate than that at which it is naturally replenished has adverse consequences for fauna and flora. Further, illicit mining activities compound environmental damages and result in conflict, the loss of taxes/royalties, illegal work, and losses in the tourism industry. As sea-level rise associated with climate change threatens coastal areas, sand in coastal areas will play an increasingly greater role in determining the amount of damage from floods and erosion. The present analysis points to the need for swift action to regulate sand mining, monitoring, law enforcement, and international cooperation.

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