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Sand mining a cause for concern


Sand mining a cause for concern

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THE PRACTICE OF SAND MINING in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) must come to an end, especially as the islands continue to feel the effects of climate change.

Acting Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU), Dr Lorna Inniss, made this point following a lecture on Why Coastal Zone Management, at the Richard Haynes Boardwalk on Saturday.

Responding to questions from the audience, Dr Inniss said SIDS across the world were experiencing problems finding sand for construction, resulting in the mining of beach sand.

But, she stated, that was a practice that needed to end.

“Over the last year, the Coastal Zone Management Unit has worked with the Ministry of the Environment in Grenada, which is experiencing a problem with sand mining, where the trucks are lining up on the beaches, filling with sand and going,” she pointed out.

In the case of Barbados, the Acting Director explained that sand dunes were built on the east coast of the island. However, she noted that there was a need to start work on establishing an inventory of the exact amount of sand Barbados needed for construction and a projection for the next five years.

That, she said, would be included in the next strategic plan of the CZMU, to guide the construction of new sand dunes in the area.

Former Deputy Director at the CZMU and former Project Manager of the Coastal Risk Assessment and Management Programme, Antonio Rowe, explained that sand dunes were coastal engineering structures that protected properties from storm surge.

Rowe, now Acting Director at the Drainage Division, cautioned that the mining of sand from beaches helped to destabilise a country’s coastal defence system.

“When the waves come in and meet the sand dunes, they hit the sand, deposit it in the sea and form a bar just offshore. Offshore sand bars reduce the water depth, so the waves break by the sand bar instead of coming right into shore. That is how nature defends itself using the dunes,” he pointed out.

He added that the dunes were constructed through vegetation, which held the sand together, thereby making it even less responsive to erosion.

“[So], using some of the dunes is still a problem. It has to be sustainable. You have to put plans in place even if you move from dune to dune,” Mr. Rowe emphasised.

During the lecture, persons were also enlightened about the boardwalk, its purpose and how it was established. (BGIS)