Sand is a key ingredient in the recipe of modern life, and yet it might be our most overlooked natural resource. Rapid urbanization and global population growth have fueled the demand for sand and gravel, with between 32 and 50 billion tonne extracted globally each year. Consequently, we are now starting to exhaust a resource that many people often consider infinite.
From 2000-2100 it is projected there will be a 300% increase in sand demand and 400% increase in prices
A lack of oversight and monitoring is leading to unsustainable exploitation, planning and trade. Removal of sand from rivers and beaches has far-reaching impacts on ecology, infrastructure, national economies and the livelihoods of the 3 billion people who live along the world’s river corridors.
Illegal sand mining is documented in 70 countries across the globe, and battles over sand have reportedly killed hundreds in recent years, including local citizens, police officers and government officials.
WE NEED A GLOBAL AGENDA FOR SAND
We urgently require a monitoring program to address the current data and knowledge gap, and thus fully assess the magnitude of sand scarcity. It is up to the scientific community, governments and policy makers to take the steps needed to make this happen.
Seven components are essential within a global agenda for sustainable sand extraction.
Sources Alternatives Novel reuse Design Governance Education Monitoring