icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Hourglass running out: Sand becoming scarce world over due to soaring demand

Hourglass running out: Sand becoming scarce world over due to soaring demand
The world’s most consumed raw material after water and an essential ingredient to people’s everyday lives is slipping through our fingers, scientists warn. Sand may become a scarce resource due to high demand, they say.

“We just think that sand is everywhere. We never thought we would run out of sand, but it is starting in some places,” a climate scientist with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Pascal Peduzzi said during a webinar hosted by the Chatham House think tank.

“It is about anticipating what can happen in the next decade or so because if we don’t look forward, if we don’t anticipate, we will have massive problems about sand supply but also about land planning,” he added.

Peduzzi, who is the director of UNEP’s Global Resource Information Database in Geneva, Switzerland, described the global governance of sand resources as “the elephant in the room.”

“Is it time for panicking? Well, that will certainly not help, but it is time to take a look and change our perception about sand,” he said as quoted by CNBC.

Also on rt.com Countries around the world spent over $13 TRILLION to combat Covid-19 pandemic – report

According to Peduzzi, sand use could only be measured indirectly via a “very, very good” correlation between the use of sand and cement.

The UN estimates that 4.1 billion tons of cement is produced every year, driven primarily by China, which accounts for almost 60 percent of today’s sand-fueled construction boom.

Statistics show that it takes ten tons of sand to produce every ton of cement. This means that, for construction alone, the world consumes roughly 40 to 50 billion tons of sand on an annual basis. The amount is enough to build a wall 27 meters high by 27 meters wide that wraps around the planet every year.

The global rate of sand use has tripled over the last two decades, partially due to surging urbanization and industrialization. It far exceeds the natural rate at which sand is being replenished by the weathering of rocks by wind and water.

UNEP has previously warned of thriving “sand mafias,” saying that groups consisting of builders, dealers and businessmen are known to be operating in countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam, Kenya and Sierra Leone.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

Dear readers and commenters,

We have implemented a new engine for our comment section. We hope the transition goes smoothly for all of you. Unfortunately, the comments made before the change have been lost due to a technical problem. We are working on restoring them, and hoping to see you fill up the comment section with new ones. You should still be able to log in to comment using your social-media profiles, but if you signed up under an RT profile before, you are invited to create a new profile with the new commenting system.

Sorry for the inconvenience, and looking forward to your future comments,

RT Team.

Podcasts