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Bryant Swindle B3[extra credit]

The Threats of Sand Harvesting

The booming construction industry in Africa and parts of Asia has led to deadly activity in sand mining.
Although it doesnt seem like much, sand mining has led to environmental and government harm. There
are even reports of the Sand Mining Mafia in Uttar Pradesh, a region of India, that killed
environmentalists and government members that rooted to halt illegal sand mining. The very act of sand
mining can harm people, as deep walls in dry pit mining commonly cave in on workers, and wet pit
mining brings harmful waterborne conditions to the working children often employed. This all started
when Africas construction industry started shooting up around 2012. Officials needed sand for concrete,
and third-party suppliers started to pop up everywhere. Miners seemed to be everywhere sand was, and
the environment was suffering. According to the Geological Survey of India, this mining has harmed the
instream habitat, riparian (surrounding vegetation) habitat, and has overall degraded the land. It has also
lowered and polluted the groundwater table in floodplain areas. During monsoon, the banks of overmined rivers often flood over and harm surrounding villages, filling them with dirty water. The Indian
government, where most of this injustice is taking place, has laid out several guidelines and restrictions to
follow, but has administered little action to enforce these laws due to the boost it gives their economy.
One article stated It has been three years since the apex court of India issued clear directions, but a walk
by almost any river in the country will show that massive excavation of riverbeds is still routine. The
guidelines set are very specific. Among others, they state that mining may only be done on the convex
side of a stream, not concave. Mining also requires that if the site is or once was a waterway, it must have
been an inactive channel. A river is also required to be devoid of any specific wildlife, and even then can
only be skimmed on the top few feet of its sandbar. The very last sentence of this same official report
states Miners can and should enrich rather than deplete the biodiversity as a corollary to their
intervention in the ecology of their area of activity.


In Agra, sand mining mafia threaten to burn alive official who conducted raid. (n.d.). Retrieved
March 21, 2015, from
KENYA: Sand harvesting threatens to displace thousands. (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2015,
from - News. Politics. Culture. (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2015, from

OFFICIAL GSI DOCUMENT (pdf, unable to cite)