Urbanisation driving demand for sand in Bangladesh

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ratna cartoon says the german river used to flow through where she is now standing and she and her family could farm here before but now it’s full of illegally extracted sand her husband now drives a rickshaw card to make a living and they struggle to support their family of six they illegally took away all the sand from the riverbed using trucks after dredging and creating a sinkhole which makes the river unstable all this is now destroying our homes and farms in the area the extracted sand is also used to fill in wetlands that people then lay claim to uncontrol and mostly illegal sand extraction from river beds for construction and land fillings are killing rivers and farmlands across bangladesh raw gold as the sand lifters call it does not cost them much to extract but fetches good money villagers have held protest in recent days against dredging in the tungal district sometimes illegal sand mining is carried out with support from elected officials abdulrahman khan fought in the war of independence against pakistan in 1971 he says he’s losing ancestral land because of the german river being dredged by local authorities they are illegally dredging our land to make a new way for the river ignoring a high court decision they are grabbing our ancestor land by force without paying any compensation to the villages the bangladesh department of environment did not reply to al jazeera’s request for an interview environment lawyers say weak regulation and lack of law enforcement is partly to blame sand mining is largely unregulated here in bangladesh whatever weak legal framework we have that is not followed either in leasing out a sand mine or in monitoring the actual mining activity as a result we are losing many uh streams of rivers sand mining and the heavy machinery used in extraction are changing the course of rivers and eroding them we are destroying our rice field by dumping the sand in our farmland we are requesting compensation from the prime minister for the damage it’s our ancestral land we have all the documents to prove it one percent of agriculture land in bangladesh is disappearing every year because of its fast-growing economy and rapid urbanization according to the urban development foundation ceud and the un’s environment agency says the global demand for sand and gravel of between 40 billion and 50 billion tons a year is an emerging crisis for the world with the constant depletion of farmland and the rise in river eruptions many here say bangladesh will face a major challenge in the future in growing the food it will need sanvi choudhary al-jazeera jamuna river bank shiraj gange

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