Global desire for sand poses environmental threat, needs better governance: UN officials

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GENEVA, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Global sand and gravel demand has increased three-fold over the last two decades and UN officials Tuesday called for better governance of resources following reports that the global appetite for sand is damaging the environment.

The report "Sand and sustainability: Finding new solutions for environmental governance of global sand resources" was presented at a press conference in UN Environment House in Geneva.

The report said that sand and gravel are the second-largest resources extracted and traded by volume after water.

It shows how shifting consumption patterns, growing populations, increasing urbanization and infrastructure development have increased demand for sand three-fold over the last two decades.

"We are spending our sand 'budget' faster than we can produce it responsibly. By improving the governance of global sand resources, we can better manage this critical resource sustainably and truly demonstrate that infrastructure and nature can go hand in hand," said Joyce Msuya, acting executive director of UN Environment.

The report showed that damming and extraction have reduced sediment delivery from rivers to many coastal areas, leading to reduced deposits in river deltas and accelerated beach erosion.

Pascal Peduzzi of the University of Geneva, which participated in the study said, "We aren't very smart about how we use sand because we think, this is just sand," according to Swissinfo, the website of the country's national broadcaster,

The UN said that the growing use of sand extraction, international sourcing of sand for land reclamation projects and impacts of uncontrolled sand extraction beyond national borders are making it a transnational issue in need of global governance guidelines. Enditem

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