The unsustainable use of sand: Reporting on a global problem

Walter Leal Filho, Julian Hunt, Alexandros Lingos, Johannes Platje, Lara Werncke Vieira, Markus Will, Marius Dan Gavriletea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Sand is considered one of the most consumed natural resource, being essential to many industries, including building construction, electronics, plastics, and water filtration. This paper assesses the environmental impact of sand extraction and the problems associated with its illegal exploitation. The analysis indicates that extracting sand at a greater rate than that at which it is naturally replenished has adverse consequences for fauna and flora. Further, illicit mining activities compound environmental damages and result in conflict, the loss of taxes/royalties, illegal work, and losses in the tourism industry. As sea-level rise associated with climate change threatens coastal areas, sand in coastal areas will play an increasingly greater role in determining the amount of damage from floods and erosion. The present analysis points to the need for swift action to regulate sand mining, monitoring, law enforcement, and international cooperation.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-09-23

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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