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Content creator’s video showing her collection of beach sand sparks environmental concerns

A social media post by a content creator flaunting her collection of sand from various Philippine beaches has ignited a heated debate on the ethics of souvenir collection and the preservation of natural resources in tourist destinations. This incident highlights the broader issue of environmental responsibility among travelers and the impact of seemingly small actions on ecological sustainability.

sand collection via Facebook
via Facebook

On a Saturday, a Reddit user shared a screengrab of the content creator’s post, which displayed several bottles filled with sand collected from beaches she had visited. The creator’s caption, “How to display… that’s my problem… and soon, I will have time to arrange…,” accompanied by hashtags such as #whitesandbeaches, #whitesand, and #travelpamore, was met with significant backlash from the online community.

In her collection, the content creator showcased sands from renowned beaches including Panglao, Samal Island in Davao, Boracay, San Juan in Siquijor, Buslon Island in Surigao, Miniloc Beach in El Nido, Palawan, and the Calaguas Islands. Additionally, she presented sand from international beaches, further intensifying the controversy.

A Reddit user who reposted the screengrab expressed frustration, urging others to refrain from taking sand from beaches. “Sana naman iwasan natin ‘yung magdala ng buhangin from the beach, [Hopefully, we can avoid bringing sand from the beach.]” they wrote. The user emphasized the importance of adhering to the tourism ethic, “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time,” a principle taught in many tourism courses.

The Reddit post garnered numerous comments condemning the practice. One user pointed out, “‘Konti lang’ but if everyone does it, boom, ubos ang buhangin. [Diyos ko] [Just a little, but if everyone does it, boom, the sand is gone. [Oh my God].” Another recounted a similar incident in Sagada where a couple took home two full bottles of soil despite warnings from tourists, guides, and locals.

The term ‘lowkey quarrying’ was mentioned by a Redditor, highlighting the process of removing natural materials such as sand for personal use, which can have significant environmental repercussions. Quarrying is typically associated with construction and industrial use, but the term was used metaphorically to describe the content creator’s actions.

A significant point of contention was the inclusion of Boracay sand in her collection. Boracay, known for its pristine white sands, has strict regulations prohibiting sand extraction. The Malay municipality in Aklan, where Boracay is located, enforces Municipal Ordinance No. 310 (series of 2012), which penalizes the extraction of white sands with fines or imprisonment and mandates the return of the sand. The ordinance underscores that sand extraction diminishes Boracay’s beauty and contributes to environmental degradation.

In response to the backlash, the content creator defended her actions, claiming she was conducting research and had no malicious intentions. However, this explanation did little to assuage critics who argued that personal research does not justify environmental harm.


The debate extends beyond individual actions to a global context. Reader’s Digest notes that sand is one of the world’s most utilized natural resources, second only to air and water. The planet consumes approximately 50 billion tons of sand annually, a rate that exceeds natural replenishment. The magazine warned that, according to a Business Insider report, 67% of Southern California’s beaches could vanish by 2100 due to sand depletion.

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the collective responsibility travelers have toward preserving natural environments. It highlights the need for greater awareness and adherence to ethical tourism practices to ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the world’s natural beauty.

While collecting souvenirs from travel destinations can be a way to cherish memories, it is crucial to consider the long-term impact of such actions. The outcry against the content creator’s sand collection underscores a growing awareness of environmental preservation and the need to adopt sustainable tourism practices. As the saying goes, “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.”


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