Sand Pirates In Indonesia

Sand pirates are stealing tiny islands from the Indonesian archipelago. The sand and gravel are used as building aggregates for projects in China, Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore.

At least 24 small islands have disappeared; the process also damages local fishing sites.


(Endangered Indonesian sand and gravel)

Sadly, this reminds me of a similar problem (on a more cosmic scale) described in Alfred Bester's novel The Computer Connection:

I'd been smart enough to be prepared; a huge wicker hamper with enough deli for months, clean linen and blankets. A freighter to Saturn is no luxury jet...

Saturn was quite a sight as it came looming up... Alas, only the two inner rings remain. Despite violent protests by ecologists and cosmologists, the Better Building Conglomerate had been permitted to harvest the third outer ring for some kind of better building aggregate. There was a housing crisis, and the [Conglomerate] paid enormous taxes. One infuriated astronomer had been euthanized for burning the chairman of the board.


((Not yet endangered) rings of Saturn)

From NYTimes.com.

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