Urbanisation and land reclamation have resulted in sand being stripped from the riverbeds of many major rivers around the world. Although river sand mining is widespread and cause a variety of environmental problems, data on sand mining rates is scant due to difficulties in monitoring sand mining activities. To fill the knowledge gap, this proposal aims to develop a remote sensing-based Deep Learning approach to systematically map the sand mining activities in large rivers and to quantify for the first time, the annual sand extraction rates in the Mekong River. The Mekong River was chosen as a representative case study for the developing our method, because it has been mined intensively in the last 30 years with no signs of abating. We expect that our results will improve our understanding of the environmental impacts arising from sand mining activities, as these impacts are often compounded by the effects of other anthropogenic drivers such as upstream dams and groundwater extraction. Our research will also be useful for determining sustainable mining rates that can be used by local governments to setup regulatory frameworks. Finally, we envision that the novel Deep Learning approach to be developed has high potential to be applied to other large rivers across the world.

Funding Source

Earth Observatory of Singapore

Project Years

2022 to 2023

Related Projects

Strengthening community resilience to global change stresses through flood-based farming systems in the Mekong Delta

The project seeks to improve our understanding of how farmers in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta (VMD) h...
Read Project Details

Sand mining in Southeast Asia: Monitoring system, the first budget and sustainable harvesting

Sand mining activities have accelerated in recent years due to rapid urbanisation, resulting in san...
Read Project Details

A novel approach to decouple effects of multiple environmental pressures on intensifying salinity intrusion in the Mekong Delta

In Southeast Asia, where the development of large river deltas is favoured due to intensive monsoon ...
Read Project Details

Impacts of Environmental Pressures on Livelihood Transformations in the Mekong Delta

The main aim of this project is to quantitatively evaluate the impacts of environmental pressures on...
Read Project Details

Leaking pollutants: investigating how Johor River sediments affect Singapore’s coastal water quality

The Johor River supplies the major source of water and sediment to Singapore to sustain its coast...
Read Project Details

The Team

Edward PARK

Edward PARK

Principal Investigator



Principal Investigator

YUN Sang-Ho

YUN Sang-Ho

Director, Remote Sensing Lab


Ho Huu Loc, Asian Institute of Technology
Feng Lian
, Southern University of Science and Technology
Jingyu Wang
, National Institute of Education
Charles-Robin Gruel
, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

Subscribe to the EOS Newsletter

Stay in touch with the latest news, events, research, and publications from the Earth Observatory of Singapore.

Email is required

Email is wrong format

You Can Make a Difference

Partner with us to make an impact and create safer, more sustainable societies throughout Southeast Asia.
Make A Gift