'They stole the beach' - the major mafia that almost nobody wants to talk about
The building boom in China and worldwide demand for consumer goods containing ilmenite has enriched criminals who specialise in stealing san
Publisher: The Ecologist
Date Written: 18/02/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX22161
Increasing demand for sand has led to targeting of sandy beaches by organised crime. Community members who speak out or protest the destruction of beaches are often victims of intimidation, harrassment and violence.
Name a well-known environmental organisation. The World Wildlife Fund? Sure, everyone knows the panda, it has royal support and we've all seen pictures of dead elephants with gaping wounds.
But as horrible as wildlife crime is, there's one criminal activity ten times bigger than all other illegal wildlife crime combined. Try naming it, or any organisation that combats it.
Sand mining has no bleeding elephants - but it is the elephant in the room of environmental issues. Illegal sand mining has ten times more value than all wildlife crime.
Indeed, it's bigger than all other environmental crimes combined, according to a study by Luis Fernando Ramadon, a police investigator and mining crimes professor at the National Police Academy in Brazil.
Professor Ramadan told The Ecologist: "It's an easy form of enrichment with less risk and costs than trafficking of drugs, humans or organs." He adds that aside from being so profitable, "it is maybe also the most harmful to the environment".
Asking Sumaira Abdulali how sand mining is harmful is like asking for a drizzle but receiving the full-blown Indian monsoon. "Soil erosion, landslides, water table loss, infertility of farmland, disturbances of ecosystems and marine life, beach disappearances, collapsing bridges