| View Thread | Return to Index | Read Prev Msg | Read Next Msg |

Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum

A combination of factors is necessary for wise practice implementation

Posted By: Gillian Cambers
Date: Thursday, 27 January 2000, at 2:21 p.m.

In Response To: Economic aspects of sand mining / Kosrae (Douglas Ramsay)

Your first question dealt with the addition of crushed glass and certain plastics to crushed aggregate, I do not have too much information on this topic. One of the Caribbean islands was adding crushed glass to aggregate for roads, I will try and find out more. Also some volcanic islands, e.g. Dominica, use another volcanic material, pumice, as an alternative construction material. Do you have any pumice deposits in Kosrae?

Your second question dealt with the difficult problem of getting people in small island developing states to accept alternative sources of sand. We have been working on this problem, for more than two decades in the Caribbean islands, and have gathered a lifetime of experience while only achieving minimal success. Looking at the Montserrat case study, which was a success until the volcano erupted and created yet another crisis, there were several important factors that came together at one point in time: people were aware of the need to stop mining because of the hurricanes and the beach erosion, the local quarry developed the capacity to produce good quality sand and aggregate (cost = US$ 25/cu yd); a new government had just come to power who were willing to take a chance and ban sand mining; a government policy of 'showing by example' e.g. using quarry sand in all government projects; a massive educational campaign; a policy of targeting special groups, such as contractors, architects etc. I think it was the COMBINATION of these factors which resulted in success.

Also the complete political support was essential. So many other efforts in the Caribbean have failed because there was not COMPLETE political support, in other words this must be pro-active support not just passive acquiescence. Another factor is time, this whole process took place over nearly two decades (1979-1995). There were many previous failures e.g. efforts to stop beach sand mining were made after the 1979 hurricane.

So in summary, the key factors (and not in any particular order of preference) are: existence of an alternative source of good aggregate, political support, education, and perseverance - this is not something that is achieved in one month or one year, you have to keep at it.

There were other aspects that were fine-tuned to the Montserrat case study e.g. local preference for using beach sand with its rounded grains for the final plastering or finishing were accommodated by opening one little-used beach on the windward coast for the controlled extraction of plastering sand, this activity was managed and this sand also had to be purchased.

Most of the Caribbean islands have laws banning beach sand mining or making it a controlled activity requiring a permit. Most of the laws have been in existence since the 1970's, and unfortunately are rarely enforced. The difficulty of enforcing them is obvious: deserted beaches at night; enforcement officers are usually police officers, who often view sand mining as rather low on their list of priorities; and local magistrates, who often view convicted sand miners in a lenient light imposing minimal (if that) fines.

Messages in This Thread


| View Thread | Return to Index | Read Prev Msg | Read Next Msg |