I just finished watching a documentary called Sand Wars and talk about an eye opener.
I like most of us outside of the aggregate industry take sand for granted. The stuff is used in just about everything, from the homes we live in to the bank cards we now use instead of money. It is so common that we never really think about it unless our toes are digging in it.
The sad fact about sand is that it is not a renewable resource and we are running out. Sure you might think there is tons of the stuff lying around in all the desserts of the world and while that is true it just isn’t the right kind of sand for building. Dessert sand has been blown around so much that the grains are rounded whereas sea sand is much coarser with harsh angles and this coarseness makes it perfect for building material.
So why is this a problem as the oceans are vast with lots of sea sand at the bottom you might think but the truth is that there really isn’t that much sea sand out there. While it is true that huge quantities of sea sand is being dredged up from the seas the problem is that when you suck up all of the sand out at sea, the actions of tide and wind is pulling the sand from the beaches to fill in those dredged hallows. This erosion is problematic on land as well as it is at sea. For example there are approximately 15 islands that have disappeared from Indonesia because of sea sand harvesting.
The demands on sand are so vast that sand is now the 3rd largest commodity traded around the globe, right behind oil and water. At present there are not a lot of regulations regarding the harvesting of sand and as such it is like a gold rush with companies springing up to harvest the limited commodity, which is free to harvest once you have the equipment to do so. Apparently there are no limits to the willing buyers around the world for the stuff as it becomes harder and harder to get.
The majority of the people of this day and age of this so called enlightenment have no idea that this issue exists and sadly by the time John Q Public discovers this potential crisis exists there will be little that can be done about it.
Sand Wars is a very informative documentary about the biggest problem you were unaware of.