The world is facing a sand shortage crisis
With the distribution of the new crown vaccine, it is estimated that the world will need 2 billion glass bottles in the next two years, which will further surge the demand for sand.
Sand is the second most consumed raw material in the world after water, and is widely used to make glass, concrete, asphalt, and even silicon microchips.
The construction industry alone needs to consume up to 50 billion tons of sand every year, and with the distribution of the new crown vaccine, it is estimated that the world will need 2 billion glass medicine bottles in the next two years, which will further increase the demand for sand.
Looming shortages could hamper everything from smartphone production to building office buildings.It could also affect the production of billions of glass vials used to store COVID-19 vaccines.
For much of the past decade, construction developments and the need for smartphones and other personalized tech devices that use screens have led to a shortage of sand, gravel and crushed stone.
According to statistics from the United Nations Environment Programme, the construction industry alone consumes 400-50 billion tons of sand every year, an increase of 200% compared to 20 years ago.
“Demand is growing due to urbanization, population growth and infrastructure development trends, and these trends are expected to continue,” said the United Nations Global Resource Information Database (GRID) Global Sandwatch programme.
Although deserts occupy one-third of the earth, the sand in deserts is too smooth and round for architecture.
In addition, countries are reluctant to mine sand in their own countries because sand mining is often concentrated in fragile environments such as rivers, coastlines and seabeds. Currently, mining is mainly carried out in countries such as India.
These activities are already having serious impacts on the ecosystem, and GRID warns that environmental and sustainability concerns will intensify as demand continues to outstrip natural supply.
Researchers have begun investigating alternatives to sand, including volcanic ash, agricultural waste, and fly ash, a byproduct of burning coal.
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