Drowning for sand

by Valeria Cardi | @vlr_crd | Thomson Reuters Foundation

At dawn on a sultry summer morning, Balaram Raute stood on a boat bobbing in a murky creek outside Mumbai, waiting for the sun to light up the water so he could dive in to dig sand.

Minutes later he was neck-deep in Vasai Creek where untreated chemicals and industrial waste float - and, at times, the corpses of fellow workers.

While Indian authorities and mining officials deny the existence or the dangers of an illegal sand mining industry, a Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation found miners are dying to meet rising demand from a booming construction sector.