Serendipity is a wonderful thing, and I was surprised and delighted to find, completely by accident while looking for something else, this document, published back in March:
In the acknowledgment section, the following appears:
The idea for this publication came from the film documentary “Le Sable: enquête sur une disparition,” directed by Denis Delestrac and broadcast on Arte channel on May 28, 2013.
Wow! Perhaps, just perhaps, the documentary is raising awareness, might just, somehow, somewhere, be making a bit of a difference…
The complete document is available on the UNEP website. It’s an excellent resource, with a number of very useful references - well-worth a read. I will simply reproduce the conclusions here:
Sand and gravel represent the highest volume of raw material used on earth after water. Their use greatly exceeds natural renewal rates. Moreover, the amount being mined is increasing exponentially, mainly as a result of rapid economic growth in Asia (UNEP and CSIRO, 2011). Negative effects on the environment are unequivocal and are occurring around the world. The problem is now so serious that the existence of river ecosystems is threatened in a number of locations. Damage is more severe in small river catchments. The same applies to threats to benthic ecosystems from marine extraction. A large discrepancy exists between the magnitude of the problem and public awareness of it. The absence of global monitoring of aggregates extraction undoubtedly contributes to the gap in knowledge, which translates into a lack of action. As this issue is truly a major emerging one, there is a need for in-depth research. The implementation of a monitoring mechanism regarding global aggregate extractions and trade would shed light on the magnitude of this issue and bridge the current data and knowledge gap. This would also raise this issue on the political agenda and perhaps lead to an international framework to improve extraction governance, as the current level of political concern clearly does not match the urgency of the situation.
Illustrations thanks to Sumaira Abdulali and the Awaaz Foundation: