Figure 1: Map of Kerala
The spotlight on sand mining in coastal zones and marine activities has increased, and for good reason. Since the 2000s, sand has become a scarce but essential natural resource for development; albeit sand extraction has been dotted with myriad socio-economic and ecological costs. In coastal communities of Kerala, the costs of sand extraction have proliferated the scarcity of livelihood assets such as food, and water among coastal communities, and the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets. This is worsened by the lack of a comprehensive framework to manage sand mining and trade sustainably and integrate the multiple natural resources from the land and the sea. In Kerala, current sand mining policies are either less integrated, less enforced, lacking, or exploitative to the marine and coastal resources (read Blue Economy resources) that sustain coastal communities, and thus the resource nexus approach to sustainable resource management. This gap formed the foundation of this study to gain an understanding of the state of sand mining in Kerala state in India, the resource nexus perspectives of sand mining, the existing pathways being advanced to promote sustainable sand mining in different case studies and identify the best framework based on Ecosystem Service Assessments (ESAs) and Environmentally Extended Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) to test and identify feasible pathways for sustainable sand mining, and Blue Economy governance. The study used a non-systematic literature review method and based on the reviewed literature, there is evidence that there are myriad abiotic and biotic effects of sand mining which increase threats to coastal communities such as access to water, coastal recreation, and food (fish). Based on the literature on sustainable Blue Governance, a comprehensive framework on how to test and adopt the best methods and steps using the ESA Framework in Kerala which could help identify and balance ecosystem health, and socioeconomic development and integrate the coastal resource nexus is developed.
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