News

The covert industry that is destroying the world’s rivers

Good sand is surprisingly hard to find, and some of the best — the kind used to make glass, concrete and even iPhones — is usually found only in riverbeds and along coasts. Now researchers are discovering that a global boom in sand mining is ...

Roving bandits and looted coastlines: How the global appetite for sand is fuelling a crisis

Next to water, sand is our most consumed natural resource. The global demand for sand and gravel stands between 40 billion and 50 billion tonnes annually, according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and its scarcity is an emerging global crisis. The world may run out of sand if we ...

Melissa Marschke, Jean-François Rousseau, Laura Schoenberger and Michael Hoffmann

The great salt drought desiccating Vietnam's Mekong Delta

“Well I can tell you, all my fish are dead now.” Nguyen Thi Bach Vien sounds more resigned than anything else. She is calling from her home in Ben Tre province, a few hours drive south of Ho Chi Minh City in the belly of Vietnam’s ...

Zoe Osborne

Dams, Sand, Rice: The Life and Possible Death of the Mekong Delta

What would Vietnam be without the Mekong Delta? Envisioning such a reality is difficult, but it is entirely possible that this will come to pass, albeit long after anyone reading this in 2020 is dead. The delta is Vietnam’s most vital agricultural region, producing 50% of the ...

Michael Tatarski

Houses On The River Will Fall': Cambodia's Sand Mining Threatens Vital Mekong

Some 60 million people rely on Southeast Asia’s Mekong River for their sustenance. But the Mekong is under threat. While China is building dams that sharply reduce the water flow and sediment downstream, other countries along the river share some of the blame. Cambodia, for instance, is experiencing a ...

Michael Sullivan

Unsustainable sand mining is threatening lives along the Mekong River in Cambodia

It’s a resource used in global construction and mined from rivers and coasts across the world. Now new research, as part of a project led by University of Southampton, has shown sand mining is causing river beds to lower, leading to riverbank instability and increasing ...

Asia’s new gold: Sand mining threatens life on the Mekong

It’s an essential component of glass, asphalt and concrete. Sand is the stuff of which Asia’s growing megacities are made. In Cambodia, sand is being dredged from the Mekong River at an alarming rate, with disastrous results for local residents. Keep watching ...

Dams and sand mining threaten integrity of lower Mekong

As investment in hydropower and construction projects ramp up, ecosystems along Southeast Asia’s longest river are paying the price. At more than 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles), the Mekong is Southeast Asia’s longest river. It runs through six countries, providing food and income for more than ...

Trade of coastal sand is damaging wildlife of poorer nations, study finds

The secretive trade of coastal sand to wealthy countries such as China is seriously damaging the wildlife of poorer nations whose resources are being plundered, according to a new study. Sand and gravel are the most extracted groups of materials worldwide after water, with sand used in ...

Dramatic Photos Show How Sand Mining Threatens a Way of Life in Southeast Asia

Sand is a key ingredient in concrete, the essential building material of Vietnam’s fast-growing cities. Demand for it is surging—and that is wreaking havoc not only on Vietnam’s rivers, but also on the all-important Mekong Delta.  Keep reading ...

Vince Beiser

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