News & Blog

Sand Pirates Stealing Indonesian Islands

Posted on March 28, 2010

from the Sunday NY Times:

[Ultimate irony would be if we lose more islands to “sand pirates” than to global warming!]

March 26, 2010

 Indonesia’s Islands Are Buried Treasure for Gravel Pirates

Islands in the Indonesian archipelago are literally disappearing as thieves dig them up and sell the sand and gravel for construction projects in China, Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore, The Times of London reports.

At least 24 small islands have disappeared since 2005 as a result of erosion caused by illegal sand mining. Even when remnants of a mined island remain above the waves, the sand mining process can devastate the local fish population. Indonesia, made up of 17,500 islands, more than 7,000 of which are uninhabited, banned the export of its sand and gravel in 2007. But the newspaper says the smugglers are winning thanks to corrupt local officials who sign off on permits.


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