In May 2009 Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen announced a ban on sand exports with the objective of improving regulation of the sector and ensuring environmental protection.
Most of the sand is exported to Singapore which is expanding its coastline with irresponsibly dredged sand from Cambodia, according to a recent report that highlights how the city state of 4.9 million people has expanded its surface area from 582 sq km in the 1960s, to 710 sq km in 2008, an increase of 22%, and it has ambitious plans to reclaim further land from the sea with the sand sometimes being sourced from eco-systems at risk.
Evidence collected by Global Witness during 2009 and 2010  shows that the inter-ministerial committee tasked with implementing this regulation has continued to approve licences for the exploitation of sea and river sand export, while also failing to ensure compliance with Cambodia’s other environmental and socio-economic legal frameworks.
Communities in Koh Kong and Kampot have reported that dredging and transportation of sand has reduced fish stocks and devastated harvests of swimming crabs. They had not been consulted by the companies before they began operations, nor had they been informed by local authorities that dredging licences had been issued.
In October 2009 approximately 300 community representatives from affected villages travelled to the Provincial Hall with a written complaint and a petition of over 1,000 signatures requesting that the dredging be halted.
On 5 November members of the National Assembly wrote to H.E. Lim Kean Hour, Minister for Water Resources and Meteorology on behalf of 1,229 households in this same area asking him to intervene to address the negative impacts of dredging.
Provincial authorities promised they would resolve these problems, but by mid-January 2010 media articles reported that nothing had improved.
Illegal sand mining activities in the area are also a threat to Koh Kong’s mangrove forests which are protected under their status as the Koh Kapik and Associated Islets Ramsar Site and the Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary.
They are considered some of the most pristine mangrove forests in Asia and play a critical role in providing a nutrient source for coastal fisheries, as a nursery and feeding ground for invertebrate species and protect the estuary against erosion and storm damage.
In July 2011 Prime Minister Hun Sen promised to review the environmental impacts of sand-dredging on the country's coastline [2,3].
Yet, the ransacking of Cambodia's coastlines and rivers is still continuing  at the expense of the communities that depend on them.