“Never before have I witnessed the uprooting and displacement of land itself,” Mam said. She wanted to understand where all this sand was going, and how a country—considered one of the most affluent in the world—could destroy someone else's home to build its own. “It is already enough to be removed from one’s land,” Mam said. “It is another thing entirely to have one’s land removed as well” (via).
Decades following the dissolution of the regime, thousands of Cambodian families are experiencing a new wave of displacement. By talking with locals on the island of Koh Sralau, Mam found out that since 2007, the government of Cambodia has granted several private companies concessions to mine the country’s coastal mangrove forests. Each year, millions of metric tons of Cambodian sand are shipped to Singapore to expand that island nation’s landmass; Singapore has imported more than 80 million tons of sand so far. According to Mam, “The people and all the living creatures that depend on these forests for their livelihood are forced to cope with this massive loss.” In addition to displacing those who live and work on that land, Cambodia is also destroying its only natural barrier against erosion, rising sea levels, tsunamis, and hurricanes.
You can read the entire interview here.
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