Temporal monitoring of vast sand mining in NW Turkey: Implications on environmental/social impacts

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Hilal OKUR , Mehmet Korhan Erturaç 


Loose sand has a wide variety (over 200) of industrial usage where most of the sand is used in infrastructure. Due to its low cost / high benefit nature and international high demand, worldwide examples of excessive sand mining caused complete destruction of habitats and forcing natives change living practices or even to migrate. Sand mining is one of the most controversial and rapidly growing mining sector of the modern world.
Sand is rare and regarded as non- renewable source. The primary source of loose sand are river flood plains and low energy coastal zones, deposited within thousands of years. In the last decade, increasing studies focus on environmental, economic and social impact of sand mining. The most issued problem is quantifying the amount of sand extracted in active depositional environments where indirect estimations and forecasts indicate excessive amount of exploitation.
We focus on a long lasting and biggest sand mining zone, Sakarya River at Adapazarı Plain, NW Turkey. Located at close proximity to a high population city, forms a good example to study mining practices by identifying direct and indirect social / environmental impact of sand mining. Mapping and monitoring the last 40 years of the region by remote sensing and by field measurements revealed that, accelerating in the last decade, sand mining practice caused complete destruction of the recent flood plain of the river within ~970 hectares of area. The total amount of exploited material reaches up to ~50 million m3, roughly 130 million tonnes of sand.
Even restricted or declared as illegal, these establishments continue to expand by using several ways. In our case, (1) changing the environment not suitable for cultivation by increased erosion close to mining area and also draining underground water (2) increasing conflicts and stress on habitation by noise pollution and heavy vehicle traffic (3) trapping sand by forming extensive and deep artificial lakes, causing coastal land loss.




Earth Sciences, Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment, Environmental Monitoring, Environmental Sciences, Geomorphology, Natural Resources and Conservation, Sedimentology


Sand Mining, Sakarya River, Multi-temporal Remote Sensing, NW Turkey


Published: 2021-01-08 08:30


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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