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On Cape Verde Island, uncontrolled sand mining has been officially illegal since 2010. But for many women, it remains the only way to feed their children or allow them to study. They sell their meager loot for a miserable sum to unscrupulous manufacturers who use it to make cinder blocks.
Isolated, 700 kilometres off the Senegalese coast, Cape Verde Island has no natural resources. One in four people live on less than two euros a day.
The same actions are repeated from generation to generation by the women of Cape Verde. Every day, they rake the beaches. Bucket and shovel in hand they scrape, gather and filter the sand: this volcanic archipelago's black gold.
Now, some beaches have been completely destroyed. The black gold has run out. Only pebbles remain. The environmental consequences are disastrous: accelerated coastal erosion, depletion of fish stocks and salt pollution of groundwater and the surrounding fields.