Morocco’s Coastline is Being Looted Bouknadel Wants Sand Returned To Beaches.
In Sidi Bouknadel, a coastal town in Northern Morocco, sand has been rapidly disappearing on its beaches. Environmental activities claim that the entire city’s coastline of Mohammedia, on the Atlantic between Rabat and Casablanca, have been affected. Bouknadel locals began reporting this to authorities and further investigation revealed that the sand is being extracted by the local Mafia to sell on the black market in Morocco for use in new construction.
A report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) on the global over-exploitation accuses “sand mafias” of destroying Morocco’s beaches and over-urbanizing its coastline.
The disappearance of sand is now an issue on high alert. Sidi Bouknadel has historical links to the Phoenician and Roman settlement of Chellah in Rabat. The city is a prime place for tourism and has developed beachfront properties and communities. Sidi Bouknadel has also used a base for a U.S. Naval Radio Transmitter Communications Station until 1991.
Sand is the second most consumed natural resource after water. It is used in construction and in hydraulic fracturing technology. According to Business Insider, the world goes through 50 billion tons of sand yearly and we are quickly running out. Sand is becoming so hard to source that many countries need to import it. Dubai for example, a country largely composed of a desert landscape, imported sand from Australia to build it’s the largest tourist attraction, the Burj Khalif Tower. China uses large quantities of sand to develop its cities. The demands for new construction will continue to rise and this will cause the sand business, worth an estimated $ 70 billion USD in annual sales, to become even more competitive, states the Freedonia Group.