A dredger shoots sand onto a beach in France. The boat pumps sand from offshore sand bars before shooting it back onto beaches in an effort to fight against erosion. | Image: NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP via Getty Images
People are dredging an alarming amount of sand from the seafloor, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) warned today. An average of 6 billion tons of sand are taken from marine environments every year, according to a new global data platform from UNEP.
That comes out to more than 1 million dump trucks of sand extracted per day to make concrete and glass, build new artificial beaches, or replenish eroding coastlines. The pace is getting even more untenable, putting increasing pressure on marine life and coastal communities.
“It’s not sustainable. The amount of sand that we are withdrawing from the environment is considerable and has large impacts,” Pascal Peduzzi, director of a UNEP center for analytics…