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The world is running out of sand

A global construction boom is fuelling an illegal trade in sand used to make concrete, causing environmental degradation and spawning sand mafias in parts of the world.

The global construction boom is fuelling an illegal trade in sand used to make concrete, causing environmental degradation and spawning sand mafias in parts of the world. Manuela Saragosa speaks to Prem Mahadevan of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, on what is becoming a global phenomenon. Campaigner Sumaira Abdulali, founder of the Awaaz Foundation NGO in India, recounts how she confronted illegal sand miners who were destroying a stretch of beach she owns south of Mumbai, and John Orr, Cambridge University lecturer in concrete structures, on how we could use less sand in construction.

(Photo: Illegal sand mining in Senegal, Credit: Getty Images)

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