Sand Mining Threatens Marine Life and Water Supply, Warns UN

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Sand Mining Poses Serious Threat to Marine Life and Water Supply, Warns UN

Sand, a resource that is often taken for granted, is facing a troubling issue: overuse. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), approximately six billion tons of sand are extracted from the world’s oceans every year, leading to concerns about its sustainability and the potential harm it poses to marine life.

Pascal Peduzzi, the director of GRID-Geneva at UNEP, emphasized the significant impact of sand extraction during a press briefing. He referred to the amount of sand being withdrawn from the environment as considerable and alarming. The consequences of these activities include biodiversity loss, increased water turbidity, and noise disturbances affecting marine mammals.

Despite being a crucial resource for various industries such as metal and chemical production, water filtration, and construction, sand extraction has not been subjected to strict regulations until recently. In response to these environmental concerns, the UN passed a resolution last year to encourage more sustainable mining practices.

UNEP’s findings have prompted the launch of Marine Sand Watch, a new platform that utilizes artificial intelligence and marine tracking to monitor dredging activities. Dredging, which involves ships acting like giant vacuum cleaners, is responsible for sterilizing the seabed and destroying microorganisms that sustain marine life. Peduzzi warned that in locations where all the sand is removed, the ecological damage may be irreparable.

Another alarming fact highlighted by UNEP is that rivers around the world are not depositing enough sand each year to replenish what is being extracted. This highlights the urgent need for better management of this vital resource.

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Data analytics and sand industry officer Arnaud Vander Velpen from the University of Geneva identified several dredging hotspots, including the North Sea, the South China Sea, and the East Coast of the U.S. Countries involved in significant dredging activities include the United States, the Netherlands, China, and Belgium.

Recognizing the need for action, Peduzzi called for improved management of marine sand resources and the reduction of dredging’s environmental impacts. He urged all stakeholders, member states, and the dredging sector to view sand as a strategic material and engage in discussions on how to enhance dredging standards globally.

To address these concerns, some countries have already taken action by banning the export of marine sand. This includes nations like Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Sand is a vital component of our society. It is used in the production of concrete, glass, and asphalt for roads. With the increasing demand for construction materials due to the growing emphasis on the green transition, sand remains indispensable. Despite its importance, it is crucial that we find a balance between meeting our needs and ensuring the long-term sustainability of this finite resource.

The issue of sand mining demands immediate attention and a collaborative effort from all stakeholders. By adopting sustainable mining practices and stricter regulations, we can protect our marine ecosystems and secure the future availability of this invaluable resource. Failure to do so may result in irreversible harm, jeopardizing both marine life and our water supply. Let us work together to address this pressing concern and ensure a sustainable future for all.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

) Why is sand mining considered a threat to marine life and water supply? (

) Sand mining is considered a threat to marine life and water supply because the extraction of sand from oceans and riverbeds can lead to biodiversity loss, increased water turbidity, and disturbance to marine mammals. It can also sterilize the seabed and destroy microorganisms that sustain marine life, causing irreparable ecological damage in some areas. (

) How much sand is extracted from the world's oceans each year? (

) Approximately six billion tons of sand are extracted from the world's oceans every year, which is a considerable and alarming amount according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). (

) Has sand extraction been regulated in the past? (

) Sand extraction has not been subjected to strict regulations until recently. However, in response to environmental concerns, the UN passed a resolution last year to encourage more sustainable mining practices. (

) How are dredging activities monitored? (

) To monitor dredging activities, a new platform called Marine Sand Watch has been launched. It utilizes artificial intelligence and marine tracking to monitor dredging activities, identify dredging hotspots, and assess the environmental impacts of dredging. (

) What are some dredging hotspots and countries involved in significant dredging activities? (

) Dredging hotspots include the North Sea, the South China Sea, and the East Coast of the U.S. Countries involved in significant dredging activities include the United States, the Netherlands, China, and Belgium. (

) Are there any countries that have taken action to address the issue of sand mining? (

) Yes, some countries have banned the export of marine sand to address the issue of sand mining. These countries include Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia. (

) What industries rely on sand as a resource? (

) Various industries rely on sand as a resource, including metal and chemical production, water filtration, and construction. It is used in the production of concrete, glass, and asphalt for roads. (

) What is the urgent need regarding sand mining? (

) The urgent need regarding sand mining is better management of this vital resource. Rivers around the world are not depositing enough sand each year to replenish what is being extracted, highlighting the need for sustainable practices and stricter regulations to ensure the long-term availability of sand. (

) What is the call to action from the United Nations Environment Programme? (

) The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) calls for improved management of marine sand resources, reduction of dredging's environmental impacts, and encourages all stakeholders, member states, and the dredging sector to view sand as a strategic material. It urges engagement in discussions to enhance dredging standards globally. (

) Why is it crucial to address the issue of sand mining? (

) It is crucial to address the issue of sand mining because failure to do so may result in irreversible harm to marine life and jeopardize our water supply. Sand is a vital resource, and finding a balance between meeting our needs and ensuring its long-term sustainability is essential for a sustainable future.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

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