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The Sand Mining In Kalu Ganga Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 2667 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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01. Kalu Ganga considered as one of the major river in Sri Lanka. It started from Idikatupana in Samanala Mountain and discharged at Kalutara. It is 126 Km long and covered Sbaragamuwa and Western Providences including Ratnapura, Horana and Kalutara.

02. Kalu Ganga is one of the most important Rivers in Sri Lanka which receives very high rainfalls and has higher discharges. Due to its hydrological and topographical characteristics, the lower flood plain suffers from frequent floods and it affects socio-economic profile greatly.

03. Kalu Ganga basin is the second largest river basin in Sri Lanka covering 2766 km2 and much of the catchment is located in the highest rainfall area of the country, which reflects the high annual rainfall. The annual rainfall in the basin is averaged to 4000 mm and leads to 4000 million m3 of annual flow.

04. Indiscriminate river sand mining in Sri Lanka has caused a number of environmental problems such as erosion of river banks, destruction of bridges and roads, sea water intrusion to the coconut and paddy lands, and deterioration of river water quality used for drinking and bathing. However, despite the concerns of authorities and environmental groups, sand mining is continuing at an alarming rate as miners and other beneficiaries still appreciate the private profitability at the expense of long-term environmental costs.

05. On the other hand, blanket recommendations to banning of river sand mining lead to loss of income opportunities of the people, who involved in various activities related to sand mining, and increase the construction costs.



01. The aim of this paper is to convince the reader to impact of sand mining affect on the Kalu River and problems occurred due to sand mining activities.

Statement OF PROBLEM

02. With the incensement of the constriction works in Western and Sbaragamuwa provinces annual requirement of sand is increased. In order to fulfill the required demand, sand mining activities also increased in Kalu River. These sand mining activities are caused number of environmental and social problems. Some of these problems are erosion of river bank, sea water intrusion to the agriculture lands and loss of habitant, problem and destruction of road and bridges, and deteriorations of quality of drinking water. Due to excessive sand mining activities this problem also increases rapidly.


03. By reducing sand mining activities can be reducing the damage to the environment, save capital for repairing and construction of new road net work and brigs. It is also can up lift social condition of the people who living in these areas.


04. This study will be based on data collection form government organization and, people who presently living affected areas and documentary sources.

05. Primary source of collection of information was based on documentary sources including publications, Newspaper articles and information were taken by surfing through the Internet.

06. Secondary source Data obtained from Ministry of Environmental and Geological Survey and Mining Bureau, Visiting to people living in kalu River area. Data obtained from irrigation department.


07. The scope of the study covers the affect of environment and social problem, because of sand mining activities in Kalu River.


08. The paper will be structured as follows:

a. Chapter I. The first chapter will contain the introduction to the paper.

b. Chapter II. The second chapter will contain the Methodology of the study and will comprise of the following:

(1) Aim

(2) Statement of the Problem

(3) Research hypothesis

(4) Scope of the study

(5) Method of data collection

(6) Structure of the paper

c. Chapter III.

Back ground

d. Chapter IV.


e. Chapter V.


f. Chapter VI.

Conclusion and recommendation


09. General Objectives: To analyze the social and environmental affect and by introducing alternative methods to minimize sand mining activities, to reduce social and environmental are issues.

10. Specific Objectives

To analyze what are the problem mainly affected because of sand mining.

To analyze how these problems effected to people in this areas.

To analyze how these problems effected to government.

To introduce suitable solution for the reduce sand mining activities in Kalu River.


11. Visiting sand mining site (licensed and illegal) in Kalutara and Ratnapura district.

12. Data obtained from Ministry of Environmental and Geological Survey and Mining Bureau.

13. Visiting to people living in kalu River area.

14. Books, News papers, Internet, etc.


15. The time available to conduct this research will be only 3 months. The length of the paper will be limited to 5000 words, and it will not be possible to collect data from all the reliable sources.

Area of research

16. This research was conducted in Kalutara district covering mast of the areas of sand mining taking palace in Kalu River. The area included Kalutara to Ingiriya along the Kalu River.



01. The demand required for sand construction works within the country is more than five million cubic meters or eight million ton of sand mine and sold per year. This sand quantity values nearly 16 billion. This high demanding for market of sand led to mining the sand significantly in most of the areas of Kalu River. Not only the deposited sand mining, river bed sand mining as well as river bank sand removal also increased. The river sand mining highly affect to the natural equilibrium of the Kalu River.

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02. There are some other important rivers in Sri Lanka also facing to this environmental and social problem in various scales. It is estimated that sand mining in Kalu River has increased by three times in last few years. Over mining in the river causes many problems like deteriorations of quality of drinking water supply due to sea water intrusion to the Kalu River, collapse of river bank and loss of river land. Considering the importance factors of scientific assessment on the environmental degradation consequent to unsystematic sand mining, an effort has made in this research study to recognize remedial and environmental impacts in Kalu River basin due to sand mining.

03. Sand mining is continuing to be a major environment hazard in many parts of Sri Lanka especially due to the unprecedented increase in demand to the civil contraction activities in the infrastructure and housing sector.

04. Substitute for river sand is sea sand which available in the market. However industry prefers river sand due to problems of salinity and the need to dry sea sand to reduce deleterious material. Anther substitute is crashed quartzite rock (impure are from silica) available in form of ridges especially in the hill country as well as Polonnaruwa and Dambulla area.

05. This issue as highlighted in this paragraph is the question of who is legislatively authorized to regulate the mining of river sand. In this content I shall quote from the cost conservation Act No 57 of 1991. “Costal zone is defined as the area lying with in a limited of three hundred meters land wards of mean high water line and limit of two kilo Meters seaward from the mean low water line.

06. In cause of river, streams, or any other body of water connected to the sea either permanently or periodically the landward boundary extended to limit of two kilo Meters measured perpendicular to the straight base line drown between natural entrance point and includes water of such river, streams and lagoons or any other body of water so connected to the sea.”

07. Under mines and mineral Act NO 33 of 1992 the Geological survey and mines bureau (GSMB) could also issue sand mining permits in the “foreshore” or sea bed with in the sand mining with in the meaning of crown land ordinance (chapter 454) with the approval of the minister of cost conservation. This act was amended by Act NO 66 Geological survey and mines bureau in 2009.

08. There are some ambiguities related to the regulation of activities in the costal zone and river bank as well as beds. However it must be stressed that all mining activities should be under the Mines Bureau administration by the mines and mineral Act.




Method of sand mining

01. There are three method used for sand mining.

Sand mining near to river bank

Sand mining in depth water (5 ft to 10 ft)using sand mining bucket with rod (“Bonderi” method)

Sand mining in river bed using boats

02. Considering these there methods, sand mining using boats was prominent in Kalu River. This method was mostly affected for the mining sand in Kalu River. This was done by following sequence.

Bring the boat to places were sand are collected.

Look for suitable place and place bamboo rod in that place.

Take the basket and dive to the water and find were sand available.

Takes sand and fill in to the boat.

Take down to the river bank and down load to the Lorries or places were sand selling.

Sand mining quantities

03. There are different between sand mining quantities and location and people are used for sand mining in place to place and it is generally.

1 ½ – 2 Volume of cub boat – 6 men involued.

1 or less Volume of cub small boat – 4 men involved.

Most of the boats mining sand about 4 -6 cub of sand per day

04. Considering Kalutara district there are 471 licensed sand mining places according to the GSMB. These places are in Kalutara, MIllaniya, Dodangoda, Madurawala, Bulathsinhala and Ingiriya. GA divisions.

Sand mining places in Kalu River in Kalutara district

05. These are the licensed sand mining places in Kalutara district

Millaniya 150

Dodangoda 138

Kalutara 061

Madurawala 075

Walalavita 040

Palindanuwara 068

Pandura 007

Ingiriya 037

Bulathsighala 076

06. During year 2010 GSMB was carried out survey on volume of deposited sand in Kalu River. This was carried out two Engineers of GSMB Mr Rgive and Mr Janaka (Mining Engineers). According to there observation this was the result

Quantity of sand deposits in Kalu River in a year 120,000 Cub

Quantity that mining at kalu River 178,000 Cub

07. According to there are results more than 78,000 Cub of sand adequately mining in Kalu River in yearly?

Other livelihoods from depend on sand mining

08. There are few people who depend on sand mining on Kalu River they are sand transporters, small hotels poor people who and supply sand buckets,

Environmental Damage due to sand mining

09. River sand is mined for used in the building industry. In a few location it can be even be beneficial by lowering the river bed and reducing flooding. Because of mining of Sand, River bed is lowering and it increases the volume of the water it can hold. Because of that during heavy rain this can be prevent form food. In 2003 food in Ratnapura is about 33 ft but in Tebuwana area it was only 15 ft.

10. Current level of extraction in inappropriate location such as Millaniya, Aguruwathota, Tebuwana and Kalutara has however led to serious environmental impacts. Sand mining has damaged river banks deepened the river and increased costal erosion. Costal erosion arises because river sand replaces sand lost from the beach by reducing wave reaction.

11. Because of the people near river bank are already lost there soil to kalu river and they not allow to mind sand near there lands. From there social problem will occurred and some incident went up to lost of lives.

12. Sand mining by lowering the river bed facilitates intrusion of sea water. Salt water intrusion up stream during the dry season long Kalu River in Kalutara district, intruding salt water enters irrigation system destroying vegetation. In addition, the water table can become saline and affected wells.

13. In dry season people living in this are facing anther problem lowering of water level in there wells. Because of sand mining Kalu River bed lowering in dry season level of water also lower then years a go. Some places people are facing in difficulty to get water for there day today requirement.

14. The biggest environment issue in Kalu River is river bank erosion. Because of sand mining activities, river bed was deepened. This will create unstable river bank. The bank collapsed in to the river. This happen most of the places in Kalu River, this can’t be stopped by planting bamboo trees after flood bamboo trees also collapsed in to the river because of it roots are insufficient to take the strength.

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15. The damage to the National infrastructure such as road net work and bridges are prominent in Kalu River. Due to collapse of river bank total loss of national infrastructure due to sand mining has never been comprehensively assessed. An estimate of replacement of endangered bridge would cost millions. In Kalu river between Tebuwana and Narthupana there are three endanger bridges. In one place contraction of damaged road was presently going on according to there view this damage cost mare than 10 Million.

16. Indiscriminate river sand mining in Kalu River has caused anther environmental problems deterioration of river water quality used for drinking and bathing because of mixing of sea water. Sand mining is continuing at an alarming rate as miners and other beneficiaries still appreciate the private profitability at the expense of long-term

Research done by Open University biology student Mr Chirath Bratha regarding animal and plant volume in a sand mining place and non sand mining place and other details are as follows.

The research was done for 1000 ml of water

Sand mining place

Non sand mining place


290 ml

100 ml

Find sand

260 ml

250 ml

Core sand

260 ml

200 ml


190 ml

180 ml

Other partials

270 ml


Sand mining place

Non sand mining place

Puntiours Nigrofaciatus (Bulath hapaya )


Puntious titteya (Le tittaya)



Puntious Cumigii(Pottaya)



Darra Ceylonensis (Patirana salaya)


Danio pathirama (cheep)


Oryzias Melastigma (Hada tittaya)



Horadania Atokorali (Hora Dandiya)



This was done by duration one hour

Feather he measured Oxysigen percentages in these two places, were sand mining and not mining places.

Percentage of Oxygen Places of Sand minims activities took placed for 100 ml – 21 mg

Percentage of Oxygen places were sand not mining placed – .81 mg



01. According to the dates from and mining places, they will mine sand on about six month per year but according to the people living in this are it was Eight to Nine months. This is an indication of sand mining owners are mining sand excessively.

02. The data will be analyzed using simple descriptive statistics to get a general picture to generate realistic implications.


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