Looming shortage of sand

The world is running out of sand and gravel, the two most mined resources on the planet exceeding fossil fuels and biomass (measured by weight), according to a report published in the journal Science. The piece suggests that the huge demand, combined with unfettered mining to meet it, is creating the shortages, and the resources are becoming increasingly scarce in many parts of the world. The over-exploitation of sand and gravel has led to environment damage, endangered communities, and caused shortages that are promoting violent conflict. Sand is also a key ingredient for concrete, glass and electronics, and huge amounts are used in land reclamation projects, shale gas extraction and beach renourishment programs. In 2010, according to the report, 11 billion tonnes of sand were used just for construction, and in 2016, in the United States alone, the production and use of construction sand and gravel was valued at US$8.9 billion, an increase of 24 per cent in the past five years. To find out more go to A looming tragedy of the sand commons.