Environmentalists have warned that illegal sand mines that have been the result of an epidemic over construction use could damage the reputation of lakes and rivers that are at high risk.
Sand, mixed with cement to form concrete, is the most common food in the world, except water. As a risk of HIV infection in countries such as China With the advent of the construction industry, there are fears that gangs leading the project have been urged to take more sand from fragile materials.
“From now on, we will see governments invest more in infrastructure, and this will contribute to the need for sand and gravel,” said Pascal Peduzzi, chief of the UN Environment Program Global Resource Information Database in Geneva.
Peduzzi pointed out that lakes and rivers were damaged by sand mines, which could change the course of the water, lower the sea level, wash away banks and confuse wildlife. “In some areas, it has been very heavy in these areas, it has caused environmental problems,” he said.
Kiran Pereira, author of Sand Stories: Amazing Facts About Sand Problems Around the World, says many major projects had already begun because of the global crisis.
“Covid has had the effect of raising funds [of sand] they are being fired, ”he said. “Many governments have used the epidemic as an excuse to promote unpredictable activities, such as land reform.”
Sand found at the bottom of lakes and rivers is better for concrete than sand or desert sand, which is too hard to build with cement. Although sand appears to be abundant, it takes thousands of years for erosion to occur.
Storage areas are depleted if sand is dug faster than it could fill. Because of the poor state of affairs in the world and the frequent mining of mines, the work is overseen by criminal gangs in many groups.
A paper published in March in the newspaper Support Companies and the Society showed how the sand mining industry “suffered from widespread crime, a strong black market and massive violence”.
There is little knowledge around the world about this problem, partly because sand is often formed locally near where you use it.
Dave Tickner, a consultant at WWF, an environmental group, said: “It’s the world’s most widely used ecosystem, but we still know very little about its origin and who uses it.” “This is an astonishing story because it takes into account the importance of our daily lives.”
This problem is a major concern for China, the world’s largest sand buyer.
Beijing relied on state-controlled industries and the use of labor tools to support the epidemic. China owns 58% of the world’s sand and rock formations, according to a UNEP study.
The quest for more money and the enticement of bigotry have enticed criminals to devise more schemes to cover up their activities. They often work at night using boats whose hideout is hidden by the water.
The seizure by Chinese authorities on illegal sands on the Yangtze River this year revealed two militants affecting more than 200 people and more than Rmb17m ($ 2.6m).
The interest in environmental protection shown by the war comes as the country prepares to host a UN conference on biodiversity this year. “They [China] they really encourage lighting and installation. He has changed, “said Pereira.
However, environmentalists say the findings are only a small part of the illegal mining industry.
Elsewhere in China, heavy hits of sand oceans as Poyang and Dongting reduced water levels, increased drought and threatened wildlife.
China’s search for sand that has been used again has taken place in other countries: the sand mines around the island of Matsu in Taiwan have become a major dispute between Beijing and Taipei.
China has also used a lot of sand to build man-made islands that can be armed and to promote Beijing’s claims in the waters of conflict.
Yu Bowen, a researcher at the China aggregates Association, said coastal regions such as Fujian, on the Taiwan border border, had developed markets.
“Companies want to take over [of the sea] and then for those who use it, ”he said. “It could be one or ten ships to pick up sand. This makes it harder to deal with. ”
Mette Bendixen, an assistant professor of ecology and geography at Copenhagen University in Denmark, said the sand dunes will move from Asia to Africa in the next few decades.
“The demand for sand in the West has decreased, the demand for Asian countries is rising, and the demand for sand from African countries will increase in the next 10 years,” he said. “You can see what happened in Africa in a few years.”
Additional reports of Emma Zhou in Beijing
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