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GENEVA, Sept 5 (Reuters) – Round 6 billion tons of marine sand is being dug up every year in a rising observe {that a} U.N. company stated is unsustainable and may wipe out native marine life irreversibly.

Sand is essentially the most exploited pure useful resource on this planet after water however its extraction to be used in industries like building is simply loosely ruled, prompting the U.N. to go a decision final yr to advertise extra sustainable mining.

The findings from the United Nations Surroundings Programme (UNEP) coincide with the launch of a brand new platform ‘Marine Sand Watch’ backed by funding from the Swiss authorities that screens dredging actions utilizing marine monitoring and synthetic intelligence.

“The quantity of sand we’re withdrawing from the setting is appreciable and has a big affect,” UNEP’s Pascal Peduzzi informed a Geneva press briefing.

Pointing to a picture of a ship he described as a “big vacuum cleaner” he stated such vessels have been “mainly sterilizing the underside of the ocean by extracting sand and crunching all of the microorganisms which can be feeding fish.”

In some circumstances, corporations take away all of the sand to the bedrock, that means that “life might by no means get well,” Peduzzi added.

Whereas globally the 6 billion being extracted is lower than the sand deposited yearly by the world’s rivers, in some areas the elimination is surpassing replenishment charges, UNEP stated.

The South China Sea, the North Sea and the east coast of the US are among the many areas the place essentially the most dredging has occurred, stated Arnaud Vander Velpen, a sand business and information analytics officer with the College of Geneva.

China, the Netherlands, the US and Belgium are among the many nations most lively within the sector, he stated.

(Reporting by Emma Farge; Modifying by Christina Fincher)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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