On the Mekong, Sand Mining Threatens the River and a Way of Life

In “Lost Lands” — Second-Place Winner of the Yale Environment 360 Film Contest — Cambodia-based filmmaker Andy Ball focuses on two families who describe how unchecked mining of river sand for urban development has devastated their fisheries and food-producing wetlands.

Phnom Penh is rapidly developing, but its growth has come at a high cost to villagers who depend on the health of the Mekong River. Filmmaker Andy Ball follows two families — one living on a wetlands on the outskirts of the capital and the other living on the Mekong’s banks 20 miles upstream — who have had their lives torn apart by sand mining.

The government supports sand mining, but Cambodian and British researchers have found that miners are taking about three times the volume of sand reported by the government. Ball’s sources requested anonymity, and their faces are not shown; in Cambodia, those speaking out against environmental harms have been jailed and even killed.

Watch: https://e360.yale.edu/features/2023-film-contest-second-place-cambodia-sand

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