A landslide cut off National Highway 91 in An Giang province, Mekong Delta

Environmental Reporting Collective

Beneath the Sands

Oceans Inc.

The greed for grains of sand comes at an ecological disaster and fatal human cost; murders and other associated crimes which have taken a toll on poverty-stricken communities, particularly women.

Global Sand Mining

The Environmental Reporting Collective (ERC) collaborated with newsrooms and journalists across 12 countries and two continents to investigate the global sand mining business, the syndicates controlling it, the communities affected by it, and the need for international standards to regulate it before it's too late.

We spent a year ‘digging’ the stories of the vast growing sand mining business that has concealed dreadful impact to the environment and human lives. From the shrinking of islands in Indonesia; damage of fishing grounds in Taiwan, China, the Philippines; farmlands that turned into sand harvesting in Kenya and India; and the collapse of the riverbank in the Mekong Delta, forcing its residents to relocate.

The ERC investigation, Beneath the Sands, exposes how greed for grains of sand comes at a fatal human cost: As cities rise in number and countries urbanize rapidly, sand mining-related murders and other associated crimes have taken a toll on poverty-stricken communities.

We documented sand-related crimes happening in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Philippines and India, from tax evasion, trespassing to threats stalking activists to people caught in the crossfire between gangs known as ‘sand mafias.’

Finally, we look at how sand mining impacted the women in Cambodia, India, Kenya, and Indonesia. From home to the streets, women are on the frontlines in the resistance against these powerful sand mining operations.

Here are the stories they uncovered.

Contributing Newsrooms: