What do houses, streets, telephones and microchips have in common? They all contain processed sand. Now African countries are raising the alarm because of their disappearing beaches.
The islands of Cape Verde are located 600 km (373 miles) from the coast of West Africa. The country is regarded as one of the safest in Africa but every third person is unemployed. Stealing sand – a commodity which is constantly needed around the world – is a fast way of earning money. However, the consequences of excessive sand mining are devastating. On the beaches where tortoises once buried their eggs, there is now only dirt and stones. No sand holds back the tides, salt water flows unhindered inland, ruining crops, plants and homes.