Planning to bring sand from your next beach vacation as souvenirs? Think again, as you might just end up in jail along with paying hefty fines for this tiny innocent act of yours! People on beach vacation love collecting sand and bringing them back as souvenirs to decorate their house. But many of you must not be aware of the fact that taking sand from several beaches in the world is considered theft, and hence, is a crime. Recent example of this crime is a French couple who filled 14 plastic bottles with around 88 pounds (approx 40 kg) of white sand from a beach in Sardinia, Italy. The couple was caught red-handed, and it is being said that they might have to serve in prison for six years, and also pay a hefty fine of up to €3,000 (around INR 2,37,845) for stealing sand from the beach. Though the couple tried to come out innocent by saying that they didn’t know taking sand from the beach was illegal, officers there claimed that all the beaches have signboards in myriad languages that explicitly mention taking sand or shells is against the law.

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The sand theft is pretty common in Sardinia and situation is the same at various other beaches of Italy and Hawaii. Last year on Lalaria Beach of Skiathos (Greece), pebble pinching issue was reported. Tourists were caught collecting the beach"s signature white stones as souvenirs. This caused the local authority to create a law under which people could be fined between $468 (INR 33,450) and $1,170 (INR 83,626) for nipping stones from the beach. In Hawaii, lifting sand from beaches such as Papakolea Beach (also known as Green Sand Beach) and Punalu’u Beach might cost one upto $100,000 (INR 7,14,500) as fine. These Hawaiian beaches are renowned for their black volcanic sands, which are quite valuable.
People generally sell off these sands in black market, and from there it goes on the e-commerce portals. Back in the year 2017, a famous e-commerce website took down several of its products as they were made using sand that was stolen from various Hawaiian beaches.

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According to a report published by a reputable media source in 2018, the world is running out of sand, which is the most universally-used natural resource. That’s the reason why sand is highly demanded. So sand theft is a threat to the planet, and tourists must understand the importance of the same.