Published on 29 Jan 2024

Sourcing for sand sustainably in South-east Asia

Scientists at NTU have broken new ground in the quest for more sustainable environmental practices for sand mining.

Led by Assistant Professor Edward Park, his team from the National Institute of Education and the Earth Observatory of Singapore have developed an innovative monitoring system.

This pioneering technology offers a precise measurement of sand mining activities, initially focusing on the Mekong Delta, which is a significant step towards helping authorities and companies in the sustainable management of natural resources.

His team is currently developing a sustainable sand harvesting map, aimed at identifying regions in the Mekong Delta where sand naturally accumulates. This map will play a crucial role in preventing over-harvesting, ensuring that sand extraction is both sustainable and environmentally friendly. This research effort is particularly relevant to Singapore’s Long Island project, designed to tackle inland flooding and counteract the effects of climate change and rising sea levels.

Giving an independent comment, Professor Chu Jian, Chair of NTU’s School of Civil & Environmental Engineering, highlighted the project's scale, noting that approximately 240 million tonnes of sand are required for the reclamation efforts. Yet, NTU is not solely focused on traditional methods. The university is actively also exploring alternative materials for reclamation, such as dredging marine sediments or utilising incineration ash from Semakau Landfill.

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