Fifty billion tons of silica sand are used yearly, together with in cell telephones, laptop screens and digital chips – therefore the identify “Silicon Valley”. Of all of the uncooked supplies on Earth, solely water is consumed greater than sand. And the granular substance is extracted quicker than it may be replenished. A UN report launched final month warned that “instant actions in any respect ranges of governance are wanted to avert a world disaster”.
The development trade is a very massive person of sand to make concrete, stated Stephen Leatherman, professor of earth and environmental sciences at Florida Worldwide College. “Tall buildings require hundreds of tons of sand,” stated Leatherman, who can also be director of the Coastal Analysis Laboratory at Florida Worldwide College.
However not all sands are created equal. Desert sand is just too spherical and easy to create cement sturdy sufficient to carry a constructing collectively. International locations lined in desert sand, such because the United Arab Emirates, should purchase sand elsewhere. “It must be high-grade sand, silicon dioxide,” Leatherman stated.