Inside the deadly world of India’s sand mining mafia

India ranks second after China in its use of construction sand, a dwindling and increasingly valuable resource.

Up to 300 trucks a day take their fill of sand at a mine on the Sone River in Bihar state. India’s construction boom is stripping large volumes of sand, a vital ingredient in concrete, from its rivers. Environmentalists say the extraction is unsustainable, harming local hydrology and wildlife.
Photograph by Paul Salopek

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