Lack of sand led to the emergence of “sand pirates”

It is known that the construction industry cannot do without sand. It is used to make concrete, glass and other necessary building materials.


Pesak (Photo: Pixabay)

A new study from Leiden University in the Netherlands shows that it will demand for sand will grow by as much as 45 percent over the next 40 years. Researchers believe that the use of sand in the construction industry will jump from 3.2 billion tons per year in 2020 to 4.6 billion tons by 2060. This is especially true in Africa and Asia, and uncontrolled consumption can lead to environmental disruption, reports Euronews.

An aggravating circumstance is the fact that not every sand can be used in construction. Desert sand is too smooth to be used as a binder for concrete, and sea sand has too high a level of chloride for most construction needs. That is why sand from rivers, lakes and shores is mostly used for construction.

Excavation of sand on the Pearl River (Zhujiang) in China has already lowered the water level, which has made it difficult to supply drinking water to locals and damaged bridges and embankments.

In addition to all this, there are also organized gangs that exploit the construction sand industry and began to appear around the world, and are known as “sand pirates”. Dozens of islands have disappeared in Indonesia as a result of sand mining, and the consequences for the environment are enormous.

“Excessive exploitation of sand has usually caused ecosystem destruction, coastal erosion, biodiversity loss and food loss“, study lead author Xiaoyang Zhong told Euronews.

Illegal sand mining can reduce disaster resilience, and has been reported in over 70 countries. That endangers the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people living along the world’s rivers and floodplains, from Cambodia to California, the Middle East and China.

Researchers do not know exactly how large the global supply is, but it is easily accessible sand is disappearing around the world at an alarming rate with profound effects on the ecosystem. They believe that international cooperation in sand extraction, recycling of materials, as well as new construction technologies is essential.

It is necessary to prevent a shortage of sand better resource management, extending the life of buildings, reusing concretecreating lighter building designs or using alternative materials, such as wooden frames, the researchers point out, adding that a global program to monitor sand resources should be established.

Source: – VESTI by

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