UN Environment Body Seeks Ban on Extraction of Sand from Beaches, Pitches for Alternatives

Environmental News from New Delhi, India: Fifty billion tons of sand and gravel, enough to build a wall 27 meters wide and 27 meters high around planet Earth, are used annually across the globe, making it the second most used resource worldwide after water, said the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on Tuesday while underlining the need of its judicious use as it plays an important role in delivering ecosystem services and maintaining biodiversity.

In its special report on ‘sand and sustainability, the UN body said sand must be recognized as a “strategic resource,” and its extraction and use need to be rethought, given its dependency on this crucial construction material.

Pitching for sustainable use of sand, the report, released in Geneva, flagged several suggestions, including a ban on extraction of sand from beaches due to its importance for coastal resilience, framing an international standard on how sand is extracted from the marine environment and developing new institutional and legal structures for sand to be more effectively governed.

To achieve sustainable development, we need to drastically change the way we produce, build and consume products, infrastructures, and services. Our sand resources are not infinite, and we need to use them wisely. If we can get a grip on how to manage the most extracted solid material in the world, we can avert a crisis and move toward a circular economy,” said Pascal Peduzzi, overall programme coordinator for the report.

The report also spoke about viable alternatives to sand and cited many examples from across the globe, including India, where start-ups are using paddy stubble to develop alternative construction materials. 

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Source: The Times of India

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