David Levy – Have you ever wondered . . . . – Jun 18

I often wondered why it was we were lumbered with the internal combustion engine until I realized that the oil producers who dominate the global market for transport would not be happy with a technology that made the petrol/diesel car obsolete.

In fact I will go further, they have bought all the global patents on all options to manufacture an alternative.

Granted the electric car and hybrid is at the experimental stage but battery technology and a roll-out recharging network is at the baby stage. More advanced batteries are contemplated but to our knowledge the technology lags behind. Or does it?

Certainly hydrogen powered cars are beyond designer models but there is no desire by those with money to create this sea change in transport. Once again patents have been bought out.

I raise this issue with you having received a communiqué from Kayasand, a company that has developed a way to create manufactured sand from quarry waste and has built a plant in Australia where they produce recycled manufactured sand of a very high quality for heavy industrial use. In fact 50% plus of all buildings and structures using manufactured sand in Japan use Kayasand products.

Not only is this a positive move in Australia and Japan but it is spreading into the building industry of the Pacific Rim and countries like India and China, which now has 30 such plants.

You may say a success story and I do, but I have to point your attention to the continued controlling influence of the major cement manufacturers in inhibiting the development of more of these plants. This applies globally, as well as in Europe which is a closed market.

The cement manufacturers stifle us with old, exploitative technologies which are reliant on dredging at sea and mining on land. No recycling here. What is a fact is that valuable marine ecosystems for fish stocks on the seabed are being damaged beyond repair.

Could it all be different? Yes, without a doubt. Not only is the technology to make manufactured sand from quarry waste unquestionably proven, it is actually being specified for use by civil engineers who require concrete of the highest strength. What is more, there is no doubt that the aggregate and cement manufactures have the financial resources to invest in such plants.

For example, in the UK Hanson is currently investing over £60 million in two new marine aggregate dredging vessels constructed in a yard in the Netherlands, and CEMEX UK has commissioned a £30 million addition to its fleet through another Dutch shipbuilder with a yard in Romania. These three new vessels will be joining a British marine aggregate dredging fleet which averages 20 years in age.

So the UK marine aggregate industry qualifies for re-direction, turning to manufacturing aggregate from quarry waste instead of dredging it from the seabed.

But will it make this change and show it understands what a genuine respect for our marine environment and a sustainable economy means? No, is the answer.

Moreover, has the UK Government (having laudably declared that it wants to manage and leave the environment in a better shape than that in which it found it) suggested to the marine aggregate industry that it should close down the highly damaging “obsolete practice” of mining the seabed because it wrecks the marine ecosystem and, instead, replace these old ways with the dramatically “more benign” means of creating aggregate from quarry waste?

No, it has not.

Meantime the “old story” of damaging exploitation continues. . . . . whilst industry and government goes on trying to convince us with words and promises of “genuine change” in policy and practice which are, on the basis of the evidence, worthless.

It is a no-brainer. When governments award contracts for huge infrastructure projects it would be a massive change and benefit if they prioritized companies that used recycled products over the traditional sources.

They should because pristine sources are rare and should be protected for future generations.

David Levy
Marinet Chair

 


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