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sand mining is threatening lives along the mekong river

Dr Chris Hackney at the University of Hull who led the research, said: "With the world currently undergoing rapid population growth and urbanisation, concrete production has grown massively, fuelling unprecedented demand for sand, so much so that sand is now the most consumed resource on the planet, after water"

The research was undertaken as part of a NERC funded project led by Professor Stephen Darby at the University of Southampton, which is studying the impact of climate change on the fluctuation of sediment through the Mekong

Professor Darby added, "Much of the sand used in the production of concrete comes from the world's big sand-bedded rivers, like the Mekong. There has long been a concern that sand mining from the Mekong is causing serious problems, but our work is the first to provide a comprehensive, rigorous, estimate not only of the rate at which sand is being removed from the system but how this compares to the natural replenishment of sand by river processes, as well as the adverse impacts unsustainable sand mining has on river bank erosion."

sand mining is threatening lives along the mekong river

In the study, the team, which also included researchers from the Universities of Exeter and Illinois, used sonar surveys to measure how much sand is transported through the Mekong, either in the water column, or on the river bed. The sonar surveys also revealed how much sand is being taken by sand miners; the sonar images show giant holes 42 metres in length and eight metres deep on the river bed as a result of sand being removed from the Mekong. By comparing the natural sand transport rates with the estimates of sand extraction, the team estimated that sand is being removed from the Mekong at a rate that is between five and nine times more than the rate at which sand is replenished by the river's natural sand transport processes

Using measurements of the shape of the river banks made by a Terrestrial Laser Scanner, the team were then able to analyse the extent to which the lowering of the river bed increases the risk of dangerous river bank collapses

manufactured sand - comparison with river sand

Excessive sand exploration and out of limit consumption of natural aggregate sources have led to the implementation of new environmental/land use legislation. This law makes the supply of natural sand difficult and expensive. Nowadays sand mining is heavily taxed/ banned in many parts of the world

it is nearly 30 – 35% volume of concrete is made up of fine aggregate. The UK construction industry demands an approximate 200 Million Tonnes of aggregates every year for various construction purposes

Due to legislative restriction on sand mining, the source of sand supply are now limited. Also there are available in remote location away from area of consumption Leeds to high cost of transportation

Natural sand contains a high amount of impurities like silt and clay which can damage screed and concrete if the sand is not given proper treatment to bring down clay and other impurity content to acceptable levels

manufactured sand - comparison with river sand

The demand for alternative materials of river sand for making concrete is increasing day by day as river sand cannot meet the rising demand of construction sector. It is fact that the river sand takes millions of years to form. Because of limited source of natural sand, the cost of River sand has skyrocketed and its consistent supply cannot be guaranteed. Under this condition the use of manufactured sand becomes inevitable

The Civil engineers, Architects, Builders, and Contractors agree that the river sand, which is available today, is deficient in many respects. It does content very high silt fine particles (as in case of Filter sand). Sometimes the presence of other impurities like coal, bones, shells, mica and silt, etc makes m – sand unfit for the use in cement concrete and due to weathering effect, this material decay which results in shortens the life of the concrete. Nowadays, the government has implemented restriction on river sand exploration and uses. Sand Mining from river bed has deep impact on the environment, as water table goes deeper & ultimately dry

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