Sand and Sustainability – UNEP Reports about the Consumption of SandNisha Gowri (Author) Published Date : May 13, 2019 17:24 ET
A recent report from the UNEP was released on Sand and Sustainability. It is on finding new ways for environmental governance of global sand resources. Sand consumption is increasing globally. It is a matter of concern, as the consumption is beyond the natural replenishment rates. Sand and Gravel are the most extracted natural resources after water. And all these falls in the list of least regulated. About 85% to 90% of global sand demand is net by gravel, sand pits and the remaining 10% to 15% is from the river and seashores and these impacts the environment in a negative way.
Annually, 40 – 50 billion tons of crushed rock, sand and gravel is extracted from the quarries, pits, rivers, and seashores. Half of this measure is consumed by the construction industry and perhaps consume even more in the future. China and India head the list of the critical hotspots for sand extraction impacts in rivers, lakes and coastal areas. This high degree of extraction causes, river and coastal erosion, threats to freshwater and marine fisheries, aquatic ecosystems, instability of river banks which leads to flooding and lowering of groundwater levels.
According to the report, most of the large rivers of the world have lost their 95% of natural sand and gravel delivery to the ocean. The building of Dam stands as a hurdle for the natural settling of deposits. It pressures the oceans which have many other issues like, rising sea water level, an unusual increase of the storm intensity induced by climate change. A vast action plan and prompt enforcement have to be done quickly. Usage of cement and investment in unwanted infrastructures has to be reduced. Maintenance and retrofitting can be encouraged instead of building a new one.
Sand and Sustainability – UNEP Reports about the Consumption of Sand