© Lickes
© Fritzsche (NDR)
© Lickes
© Lickes

Sandy beach at any price?

The Story on ARD


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Author: Tobias Lickes
Premiere: 28.6.2021 (ARD)

Sandy beaches, sea and waves - especially this year, the longing for holidays is great. Many will spend their holidays on Sylt - the island is famous for its kilometre-long beaches. But they are highly endangered: Year after year, the people of Sylt have to fill in new sand there. How sustainable are these measures really?

The sand is a Sisyphean task: wind and waves carry the sand away metre by metre. ARD reporter Tobias Lickes follows the tracks of the sand: The sand for Sylt's beaches comes from the seabed far out in the North Sea and devours millions of euros year after year - in 2021 alone it will be 13 million euros.

It is an important coastal protection measure - also for the mainland behind it - is how the responsible ministry in Schleswig-Holstein justifies the high costs. But how sustainable are these measures really? Reporter Tobias Lickes accompanies researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute on their ship.

On board the Mya II, the scientists are conducting basic research: for the first time, they are surveying the sand mining areas under water. The scientists' recordings show: Decades after the first sand extraction off Sylt, the craters in the seabed are still clearly visible. Where there used to be high-quality sand, pits have now been created with silt that cannot be extracted again.

Sand is also a resource in demand worldwide. The film asks: How can we deal more sustainably with this valuable raw material in the future?

The taz and the dpa have written readable reviews of the film (german only).