The world's sand is running out.
You have read innumerable news that the world is running out of oil and water resources. However, there is little known fact that the world's sand, which seems to be an almost unlimited source, is actually rapidly consuming. And that's not all.
When people see beaches and immense deserts, they may think that sand is an unlimited resource for a reasonable reason, but according to a recent publication in the Science magazine, overuse of global sand resources is damaging to the environment, causing scarcity and encouraging conflicts by throwing communities in danger.
Rapidly growing demand and unbridled sand mining are bringing together scarcity as it is in other natural sources. As the strong evidence shows, the sand of many regions began to decrease gradually. For example, Vietnam's domestic demand exceeds the country's total reserves. If this imbalance persists, Vietnam's construction sand will be exhausted by 2020, according to the country's infrastructure ministry.
This problem rarely took place in scientific debates and was not systematically studied. However, the interest of the media has begun to attract attention. While scientists have made an important effort to calculate how much infrastructure work such as roads and construction damages their living spaces and their environment, the impact created by the removal of construction resources such as stone and gravel, which are used in building construction, has been missed.
Two years ago a working group on global sand use was established. The aim of this group is to be able to create policies that can be applied on a large number of affected points in the bases of sand extraction and use. The system integration approach provides the best understanding of the socioeconomic and environmental interaction of these questions beyond time and distance. According to what has been learned so far, it is now time to formulate regulations on inter-continental sand mining, use and trade.
If it does not seem critical to you, let us also give you the following information: You probably did not know it, but it is now the world's most abundant material (by weight), exceeding sand and pebbles, fossil fuels and biomass. You should not be surprised at this; because it is a critical component of sand, cement, glass, and electrons. In enormous quantities, sand is removed for land reclamation, rock gassing and coastal renewal programs. Recent sellers in Houston, India, Nepal and Bangladesh will cause global sand demand to increase slightly.
In 2010, the countries only released 11 billion tons of sand for construction. The Asia-Pacific region has the highest sand extraction rates, followed by Europe and North America. In the US alone in 2016, only 8.9 billion dollars worth of sand and gravel were used for construction and production, accounting for a 24% increase over the last 5 years.
Moreover, it turned out that these figures do not really reflect the amount of global sand extraction and use. According to some sources, records of actual sand extraction rates in many countries may be hidden. Official statistics typically report incomplete sand removal data for non-construction purposes.
Sand is traditionally a local resource. However, due to regional scarcities and bans, some countries are turning into global commodities. For this reason, the value of kumun international trade has increased almost six times in the last 25 years.
The profit from sand mining is encouraging this ration. As a response to the violence arising from the sand battle, the Hong Kong government created a regional monopoly on sand mining and sales in the early 1900s and continued until 1981. Today, illegal groups in India, Italy and other countries are managing sand and land trade. Singapore's imports of large quantities of sand have fallen into disagreement with Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia. So, as you can see, sand is an important source of rent and a problem not to be overlooked.
This extreme sand exploitation causes the sand resources in the sand extraction areas to gradually decrease. Due to dense sand extraction, rivers and coastal ecosystems are physically altered, causing erosion.
It also shows that the operation of sand mining affects many species of animals, including fish, dolphins, crustaceans and crocodiles. This is not the only affected animals. Sand mining also seriously affects areas where people have livelihoods. Due to increased erosion, coastal areas in beaches and wetlands become more vulnerable to seller and wave. This directly affects the people living in those regions.
Thanks to the United Nations Environment Program, the media interest in the issue is growing, but the scale of the problem is still not widely understood. Kumun is a common, easy-to-find resource, making it difficult to make adjustments to it. As a result, very little is known about the global consequences of sand production and consumption.