Unsustainable sand mining drives channel instabilities in the Mekong River and its Delta
Chris Hackney (Newcastle University)
Sand is the most consumed natural resource on the planet, yet our ever-increasing demand for the humble grain has seen an explosion in the rates of sand being extracted from alluvial river channels and deltas. In South East Asia, rapid economic development coupled with low levels of regulation and monitoring has led to an environmental crisis, with sand extraction being blamed for increasing bank erosion rates, increased salinity levels within deltas and a loss of biodiversity.
In this talk I will use the example of the Mekong River in Cambodia and Vietnam to highlight how pervasive sand mining is. Using state-of-the art acoustic monitoring techniques, I will demonstrate the physical impact of mining on the river bed, and highlight the impact this is having on bank instability and increasing salinity levels within the Mekong delta.