How the world might run out of sand
Next to water, sand is our most consumed natural resource. The global demand for sand and gravel stands between 40 billion and 50 billion tonnes annually, according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and its scarcity is an emerging global crisis.
The world may run out of sand if we do not start paying attention to sand as a resource that needs research, management and governance.
The demand for sand is only expected to rise. Sand is also needed to manufacture medical-grade glass vials, which are used to hold vaccines. The industry already faced shortages even before researchers began developing a coronavirus vaccine. And conflicts over sand are emerging in Florida and other seemingly sand-rich areas.
But urbanization and its need for concrete, land infill, asphalt and glass is fuelling sand exploitation the most. The global urban population, expected to grow to 5.2 billion by 2030 from 4.4 billion today, will sustain the global construction boom, where sand is the key ingredient for concrete.
As sand markets boom, entrepreneurs, organized crime and other groups have emerged to cash in, often using cheap labour and driving widespread habitat destruction and coastal, riverbank and delta erosion. – Global News
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Sand, not really high on your endangered natural resource radar. I can’t imagine running out of sand. How do you run out of sand?