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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 106

Restrictions on river sand mining seriously affect..........

[b]Restrictions on river sand mining seriously affect the construction industry[/b]

By Q Perera - Our Business Correspondent

[b] Colombo, 23 September, ([/b] The authorities allowed river sand mining until it seriously affected the environmental and ecological conditions of the country, confronting the country of deepening the river beds, river bank erosions, affecting the underground water levels in wells and affecting agriculture due to lowering the underground water table.

The government without finding alternate sources of sand, implemented haphazard prohibition of river sand mining, putting the construction industry to serious difficulties and to sore the construction costs. The worst hit has been the ordinary people trying to construct their abodes. A cubic metre of sand, which cost Rs 1,900 in 2003, has shot up to Rs 4,800 per cubic meter in 2005.

Though the government was speaking about dredging the offshore sand as an alternative for river sand, since the sand crisis worsened, it failed to do anything tangible to get on with any projects on alternate sand sources, that could be readily available. As a solution to the present impasse, the government and the construction industry have now agreed to use the offshore sand stockpile at Muthurajawela to be released to use as an alternative to the river sand in the building construction. The offshore sand at Muthurajawela was dredged to be used for the construction of the proposed Colombo-Katunayake super highway.

A day long seminar on "Use of Off-shore sand as an alternative to River Sand in the Construction Industry" was held last week at the BMICH to convince the people involved in the construction industry that off-shore sand is as good as river sand for construction purposes once the sand is washed according to accepted norms.

Prof Priyan Dias, University of Moratuwa speaking on “Use of off-shore sand as an Alternative to river Sand Technical Aspects" said that off-show sand is not very different from the river sand. The other alternatives could be the manufactured sand and quarry dust. He said that the particle shape of sand is also important for construction industry and river sand gave the ideal shape.

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