Morroco: Sand Raiding Mafia

Aug 7, 2023 | Environmental, People, Videos

In the past decade, Morocco has experienced an unprecedented construction boom, and with it has come a disregard for environmental conservation by businessmen eager to make big profits. This has taken the form of illegal mining of natural resources — particularly sand — to meet the demands of major construction projects like new cities and hotels by the sea.

The demand for sand is so great that it has created an underground black market in which unscrupulous traders are able to make huge profits. The uncontrolled extraction of sand from river banks, beaches, and even protected areas has caused widespread ecological destruction, with large-scale soil erosion impacting entire ecosystems. The effects on wildlife cannot be overstated: beach habitats have disappeared overnight; birds and marine species have been forced further into ever-shrinking coastal wetlands.

What’s more, these practices put people’s lives at risk too: unregulated sand mining has led to dangerous landslides that can cause catastrophic damage in nearby villages. And yet the illegal sand trade continues unabated — demonstrating once again how profit can trump all other concerns when there are few legal consequences for engaging in such activities.

This issue is explored in greater detail in “Sand Wars,” a documentary about the global crisis facing our planet due to sand mining. Through its exposé of the economic forces behind the destruction of our environment, this film offers an urgent reminder that we must act now if we want to see any change before it is too late. We urge you to watch “Sand Wars” and join us in calling for better regulation of sand mining worldwide.

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David B