Every morning local women have come to the beach at low tide to come and pick up beach sand on the outskirts of Santa Cruz. On the island they are called the ‘sand robbers'.
Six days a week and for several generations now they come to the beach at low tide to repeat the same movements for hours and hours. Every day the women remove half a ton of sand from the beaches. The women have to gather up to 4 tons of sand prior to selling it for the amount of 40 USD, which can represent several weeks of working force. Women have practiced this activity for several generations now. Unfortunately, this practice has led to the destruction of the beaches of the region.
The beaches of Cap Verde attract up to 5 million tourists a year, which represents up to 24 pc of the annual GDP. The real estate boom, which started in the 70’s, led to this sand exploitation. Most constructions on the island are built with beach sand. (Volcanic sand)
Since 2010 the local legislation has forbidden sand mining on the beaches. Now sand minors are forced to go into the water and dive to collect the sand. Most of them cannot swim very well.
Salinisation has increased all over the Island putting the culture at risk. These are the consequences of sand mining and the sand exploitation of the island by the construction companies.