Sand mining must preserve a delicate ecosystem balance
Our Readers' Opinions
February 17, 2023

Sand mining must preserve a delicate ecosystem balance

EDITOR: I used to think that the sands of the seas and beaches around us were infinite. But I observed in my lifetime major changes on the shoreline in Union Island and have realized that the sands are finite.

As a child we used to enjoy about 10 feet of beach width on the north coast from Miss Pierre to Big sand. We played cricket and volley ball on some of those beaches. There were also many sea grape trees that enriched our diet with their purple juicy grapes. We had many choices for picnic activities and sometimes we attempted to bathe in all the beaches along the north coast in one afternoon.

Initially sand was removed to build the pillars for the wooden houses, concrete wheel strip roads, and concrete water tanks on the island. Most houses are now concrete and more sand was removed to build them. Disturbances in the waters around the island also seem to affect the movement of sands from one area to the next. Major changes in recent times include the removal of mangrove from the area at Water break, Big sand, the joining of Red island to facilitate the extension of the Union Island Airport, and the joining of Frigate Island to Union Island.

Removal of sand from our beaches is now prohibited. However, it is important that everyone is educated on the value of our beaches so that all can understand and help to enforce the law.

Recently there has been talk of dredging sand outside the Argyle International Airport, and of covering some of our black sand beaches with white sand. Sand for all these projects should be imported since there is a delicate balance of the sand that surround us. Different weather patterns and ocean currents will shift the sands from one place to another. If the sands are permanently removed, the delicate balance would be torpedoed. The blue economy is gaining prominence in our country and it is important to preserve the ecosystem that allows our fish to breed and flourish.

Anthony G. Stewart, PhD