The political economy of river sand mining in South Asia
Timeframe: Aug 2020 - Jul 2023
Funder: Research Council of Norway (UTENRIKS)
Sand is the world’s second most consumed resource after water. It is increasingly becoming scarce. The world is running out of sand as building booms consume ever greater quantities of the resource. Long thought to be an almost inexhaustible resource, the international community is slowly realizing that sand governance should be a key priority of governments across the globe. This is even more pertinent as it has been found that sand extraction can have highly negative environmental impacts. This research project aims to understand the current governance of sand in three countries (Bangladesh, India and Nepal) in the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) River Basin. This Basin has been particularly affected by sand extraction and it is already highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The project combines qualitative fieldwork and a household survey. It will analyze the relations between power, capital, labor and livelihoods and look at both formal and informal forms of governance of sand extraction, transport and consumption. This research project aims not only to increase our knowledge of current governance practices, but provide the groundwork for devising both ecologically and socially sustainable sand policies.
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