D H
Apr 16 ยท Last update 3 days ago.

What can be done about the global sand shortage?

Despite its ubiquity, sand is a finite resource that is rapidly leading to environmental damage, strained international relations and even conflict. Sand is a vital ingredient for global construction industries, used to make concrete, the demand for sand for construction alone has been rising steeply in recent years as more countries build and develop infrastructure. Some countries are running out of sand and a boom in demand has led to the resource becoming a global commodity and led to a burgeoning black market. Is the world likely to run out of sand? What can be done about the shortage of this resource?
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Alternative materials
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Stop construction
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0 disagrees
Alternatives are imperative
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The need for international regulation
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Alternative materials

The crisis in global sand supply desperately calls for the use of alternative materials, however the use of natural materials will only exacerbate other environmental issues, for example deforestation. Instead we should be looking into artificial alternatives to cover the huge demand and manufactured sand could be the way forward. Artificial sand for construction can be manufactured through a process of the controlled crushing of fine aggregate produced from quarried stone, to obtain a controlled gradation product that complies with the 4.75mm classification needed for sand for construction. Likewise alternatives have been put forward to replace whole concrete blocks with plastic breeze blocks, again using waste materials - this time from landfill, to form construction grade building materials. Using our waste materials in this way will enable us to deal with the environmental impact of sand mining without causing any further negative impacts to the environment.

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5456819

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D H
Oct 24
Created

Stop construction

The problems caused by sand mining are so grave, so damaging to ecosystems that the demand for sand and the construction industry at large, should be halted as soon as possible, to urgently deal with the ecological effects that sand dredging has had. Research has demonstrated that sand mining operations are threatening a number of animal species, such as fish, dolphins, crustaceans and crocodiles, with the gharial, a crocodile found in Asian river systems, now critically endangered, as dreading destroys their habitats. Countries like China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia have already banned sand exports, as these countries are facing unprecedented levels of fish depletion, landslides, and flooding, but this should go further and be emulated globally. We risk the extinction of more species, the collapse of more ecosystems, and the collapse of more human food sources if we ignore this any longer. Construction should be halted, concrete and sand should be taxed at a much higher rate, and the alternatives that have been used for so much of human history should be reverted to. Going back to using wood, compacted earth, compacted fibres, and a number of other sustainable materials that have similar strength to concrete, is the only way to address the environmental sand crisis.

smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/world-facing-global-sand-crisis-180964815 economist.com/asia/2009/10/08/the-hourglass-effect weforum.org/agenda/2019/04/global-demand-for-sand-is-wreaking-havoc-on-rivers inhabitat.com/11-green-building-materials-that-are-way-better-than-concrete

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D H
Oct 24
Created

Alternatives are imperative

The source is the main problem of the global shortage of sand and the growing black market that is cropping up around its trade, and the fact that it is finite resource is often discounted from planning and management. The dredging practices used to mine sand causes loss of marine life, damages fishing industries, increases risk of landslide, and has been thought to have worsened the impact of natural disasters such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in Sri Lanka. These wide ranging effects are increasingly causing water and food insecurities to local communities while threatening the loss of agricultural land and even people's homes. There are numerous alternatives to sand that could be put in place as a similar construction material, the most obvious of which is plastic, as it is overabundant to the point of causing another tsunami environmental damages globally.

sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0921800907004077?via%3Dihub smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/world-facing-global-sand-crisis-180964815 lafargeholcim.co.tz/sand-alternatives-for-sustainable-construction

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D H
Oct 14
Created

The need for international regulation

Gravel and sand are amongst the most heavily extracted materials in the world, being used to make concrete, roads, glass, electronics, while also being instrumental in land reclamation, shale gas extraction and beach replenishment. Sand extraction is greater by weight than even fossil fuel extraction. Countries are thought to hiding their real extraction rates as disputes have arisen between high import countries such as Singapore and high export countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia. International conventions to regulate sand mining, use and trade are needed, to establish sand budgets for individual countries.

As a result of its ubiquity sand and sand mining has become a billion dollar industry, but it remains an extremely hard commodity to regulate or keep track of in any realistic way due the abundance of its sources. Organised crime has begun to flourish around sand supply in India and Italy as demand remains so much higher than supply, much needs to be done in order to stop the global supply of sand from slipping further into the hands of parties who are willing to unsustainably manage this resource. It is imperative that all countries go further in their efforts to regulate this crucial commodity, as the cost of not doing so means the industry will cause further friction in international relations, which could in turn generate black markets and lead to the unsustainable management of this resource.

smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/world-facing-global-sand-crisis-180964815 businessinsider.com/global-sand-shortage-could-cause-damaging-effects-2018-12?op=1 theconversation.com/the-world-is-facing-a-global-sand-crisis-83557

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D H
Apr 20
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
As a result of its ubiquity sand and sand mining has become a billion dollar industry, but it remains an extremely hard commodity to regulate or keep track of in any realistic way due the abundance of its sources. Organised crime has begun to flourish around sand supply in India and Italy as demand remains so much higher than supply, much needs to be done in order to stop the global supply of sand from slipping further into the hands of parties who are willing to unsustainably manage this resource. It is imperative that all countries go further in their efforts to regulate this crucial commodity, as the cost of not doing so means the industry will cause further friction in international relations, which could in turn generate black markets and lead to the unsustainable management of this resource.
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