Can Sand Degradation be Solved?

When I think about sand I am immediately transported to a beach walking along the shoreline in the sunset. When some of us think sand we think about how much concrete we can make using it. Isn’t it weird how people have different perceptions on every little thing.

File:Beach Sunset at Point Chevalier Beach - Auckland.jpg - Wikimedia  Commons
What is Concrete Sand Types & Specification - Concrete Information

As beautiful as sand is; it is the most mined commodity in the world. Almost 85% of material pulled from the earth is sand. After water sand is the most consumed. Not only is sand used in construction it is also used to make the toothpaste that you brush your teeth with.

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From the wind shield on your car to the glass ware and vases in your home without sand these things would be impossible to have.

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The saddest thing is that sand is almost everywhere but we are running out of it due to urbanisation and the high demand on this commodity. Despite regulation set up between 50 to 60 billion tonnes of sand is used annually. Meaning we are extracting three times more sand faster than nature can replace it.

People have also been killed for sand. The common victims have been police officers, journalists and protestors. The problem is that sand is as a vital resource and it fetches a high price. It has attracted the attention of criminals and the sand mafias- these are illegal and very violent sand miners who dredge sand in prohibited areas. The sand mafias are a big problem in India. 36 year old Sangeeth Balan was bludgeoned to death with the arm of an earth mover for resisting a gang of illegal miners who arrived at his residence with excavators and trucks.

Why can't we use desert sand for construction? Is there any use of desert  sand? - Quora

Singapore, a very beautiful country indeed! I have always wanted to go there. This country is the largest importer of sand because of it’s land reclamation activities. Export of Indonesian sand to expand Singapore’s land area has put 80 Indonesian islands at risk of disappearance due to sand extraction.

Singapore Country Profile - National Geographic Kids

Nations like Cambodia, Malaysia and Vietnam have completely banned export of sand to Singapore owing the economic and environmental burden. Unenforceable and lax regulations by the global sand industry has seen Singapore’s sand acquisition go undisturbed.

To save this very limited overused resource I believe we really need to rethink construction and our infrastructural projects. Recycling glass into sand has proved possible without losing the qualities of natural sand. This can reduce the amount of glass that goes into land fills and in turn reducing the coastal shoreline damage. Have an idea on how we can reduce sand usage? Comment and let’s discuss.

Published by Barbara Michoma

I am a tour operator in Kenya. I have a degree in Tourism Management and I have my own company known as The Traveling mindset Limited which is centered on giving people a chance to experience the world in a sustainable way. I am extremely passionate about climate change, human rights, sustainable tourism, accessible tourism and meeting new people and giving them unforgettable experiences. For fun I play hockey and read all kinds of books. I have two dogs and I love animals very much. My all time hobby though, is writing and sharing my thoughts with the world.

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