Coastal sand is disappearing as a growing construction industry sucks up a valuable resource.
Beaches around the world are disappearing.
No, the cause isn’t sea-level rise, at least not this time. It’s a little-known but enormous industry called sand mining, which every year sucks up billions of tons of sand from beaches, ocean floors, and rivers to make everything from concrete to microchips to toothpaste.
In the process, conservationists warn, the sand mining industry is damaging ecosystems, changing coastal water flows, and making beaches and communities less resilient to storm surges and floods as climate change accelerates.