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Positive and Negative Impacts of Sea Sand Mining

by Grace Sabathya

sea sand miningIndonesia is an archipelago with a total of around 17,000 islands. By having a variety of so many islands, Indonesia has a large natural resource potential on a large number of its coast and sea. The management of natural resources located in a large number of coastal and marine areas hasn’t been utilized or optimized thoroughly through the concept of existing development plans, that makes the utilization of existing natural resources needs to be a priority with an organized and comprehensive management system.

One way to utilize this resource is by mining. Mining is an activity carried out to extract a large amount of content in land that has a high sale value and this activity can be carried out in traditional and modern ways, for example mining minerals, coal, and others.

Mining activities are strategic way for an area in improving the industrial sector and the economy. Specifically for coastal areas, one of the mining activities is sea sand mining. Similar to river sand mining on land, sea sand mining is carried out around the coast or it can also be done in the middle of the sea either by using traditional tools or using more modern tools. Sea sand is used for various needs such as building materials and road construction. In addition to sand, mining of sea sand also has a by-product that is iron ore.

Thus, the mining of sea sand is not surprisingly found in various locations around the sea coast in Indonesia. In addition, sea sand mining is also carried out to conduct sea reclamation, which is to accumulate large amounts of land or sand on the sea coast to expand land or make artificial islands. This is like what happened in the Thousand Islands Sea and Jakarta Bay, Sentosa Island in Singapore, around the Benoa coast in Bali, in the Wakatobi Bay area in Sulawesi.

According to Presidential Decree No. 33 of 2002, sea sand is a sand excavation material that is found throughout the coast and Indonesian sea waters which is not classified as a Group A and / or B excavated material in economic terms and sea sand is one of the non-renewable natural resources. However, sea sand mining is still permissible according to the existing laws and regulations if it is carried out in accordance with the provisions and regulations of sea sand mining that have been determined. Even so, mining of sea sand is also still carried out by illegal means or violating existing regulations.

One reason for illegal mining of sea sand is that it is sold or exported to other countries, namely Singapore, which is used as landfill. In addition to causing losses, sea sand mining is also very necessary for the expansion of docks and ports in Indonesia. This is done to expand the capacity and the availability of sufficient space for medium to large vessels to be able to stop at ports or piers that are technically inadequate.

Based on the above explanation, the impacts of sea sand mining can be explained as follows:

  1. Positive impact

The positive impact of mining sea sand that is done legally can provide added value to an area or Indonesia in general, which includes:

  • As state or foreign exchange income derived from sea sand exports;
  • Increasing sources of regional income in each district;
  • Expansion of the pier or harbor area;
  • Marine reclamation for development and
  • As income of the community around the sea coast;
  1. Negative impact

These negative impacts outweigh the positive impacts obtained from sea sand mining because illegal mining of sea sand can cause damage to the marine ecosystem for a very long time and the recovery time is not fast. Some of the obvious negative impacts of sea sand mining are as follows:

  • Increases beach abrasion and beach erosion
  • Reducing the quality of the marine environment;
  • Increasing coastal pollution;
  • Declining water quality which causes increasingly turbid seawater;
  • Damage to spawning areas and areas of care;
  • Causing turbulence which causes an increase in levels of suspended solids at the bottom of the water;
  • Increasing the intensity of tidal floods, especially in coastal areas where there is mining of sea sand;
  • Damaging the coral reef and fauna ecosystems that inhabit the ecosystem;
  • The higher wave or wave energy that hits the coast or the sea. This is according to Purba (2003) because the bottom of the waters which previously contained the sea sand content became very steep and deep so that the wave energy waves that led to the shoreline would be higher because of reduced damping by the bottom waters; and
  • The emergence of social conflict between pro-environment communities and sea sand miners.

From the exposure to two impacts, positive and negative, this sea sand mining, it is time for the local government, specifically in charge of regulating sea sand mining, to conduct a review in addressing sea sand mining, both legal and illegal. Sea sand mining is an activity that has two opposing sides, on the one hand improving the welfare and quality of life of its people and on the other hand this can cause damage to the environment and coastal and marine ecosystems. The steps that can be taken to regulate and limit the mining of sea sand are as follows:

  • The regional government should determine and review regional regulations on sea and coastal spatial planning periodically with all relevant elements;
  • Reviewing sea sand mining permits for companies that carry out sand mining activities carelessly;
  • Seek alternative other economic sectors in improving the welfare and life of communities around the coast, for example crab cultivation, brackish water fisheries, giant prawns and other cultivation;
  • Improve mangrove or mangrove tree planting programs
  • Prohibiting illegal seawater mining by making binding legal regulations with maximum fines;
  • Dissemination of the benefits of mangrove forests or mangroves to protect coastal and marine ecosystems; and
  • Conducting patrols on the coast and the sea by the authorities in supervising permitted sea water mining.

Thus the impact of mining the sea sand and how to prevent and overcome it and hopefully useful.

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