In Cambodia, sand mining has become a popular industry to support concrete production. The influx of sand is threatening the homes of thousands who live along the country’s water ways. The collateral damage of overproduction leaves increased erosion and potential for dangerous flooding.
“Before the entire lake was decorated by lotus and lotus stem. Now, it’s decorated by gravel and sand,” said Prak Sophea, one of the many residents in Cambodia who are slowly watching their beloved riverfronts and homes become overrun by growing swaths of sand.
Large barges are dredging up tons of sand from the river to supply concrete for developing Southeast Asian cities. The sand is exported to places like Singapore, where nearly 50 square miles of land have been added on waterfronts, and Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.