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Economy

Race to the bottom for region's sand miners

Asia's beaches and riverbeds suffer as sand demand piles up

Construction workers mixing concrete in Myanmar's Irrawaddy Delta (Photo: Simon Roughneen)

JAKARTA -- As Asia's economies grow and its cities modernize, the region's voracious appetite for construction materials has driven demand for sand -- alongside illegal trade of the commodity -- to unprecedented levels. With rapid urbanization and infrastructure expansion, some countries are mining surrounding seas and their river and lake beds at a pace that could have grave implications for the environment.

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