Global Sand Crisis: An Unseen Threat to Our World

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Sand is one of the world’s most essential and highly consumed natural resources after water. The use of sand in many things, from concrete to glass and glass to electronics, plays a vital role in the manufacturing and construction industry.

However, it is essential to be aware of sand as a finite resource; therefore, the world is slowly facing a growing global sand crisis.

The requirement and demand for sand are day by day and are widely driven by economic growth and urbanization. The demand and need for sand will reach 85 billion tons by 2025.



What is sand mining?

Sand mining is the process of dragging sand from open pits, seasides, inland dunes, ocean, and river mattresses. Sand is typically operated in manufacturing as an abrasive and as a component in concrete.



What is illegal sand mining?

Global Sand Crisis

Illegal sand mining is an international issue that frequently goes neglected. It is a significant problem that is identical in scale to worldwide water scarcity and is generated by the insufficiency of natural and non-renewable resources.

When sand is unlawfully terminated from a seaside, it can direct the entire or partisan disappearance of the sands. (( ))



Why is the earth running a Global Sand Crisis?

Sand is a very beneficial resource for the world to rely laboriously on for construction. However, the global sand crisis has highlighted the requirement for a better sustainable approach to using sand.


BBC Future reported that while sand is an abundant resource worldwide, the type required for construction is not readily obtainable in each location. It has directed to the multinational exploitation of riverbeds, beach fronts, forests, and groves, which has had antagonistic environmental consequences with the peril of manifold ecosystems.

Global Sand Crisis

To handle this crisis, We should promote sustainable approaches to sand usage. We must try to reduce waste and expand recycling efforts, which will lower the high demand for sand. This practice will support the conservation of the natural habitats that are being exhausted. Alternative construction resources and materials must be researched and designed to diminish our reliance on sand.


As per Pascal Peduzzi, an experimenter with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), noted, we must close this burning issue with a long-term outlook, assuming the environmental consequence of our activities and actions and the requirement for sustainable keys. (( ))



What are the significant impacts of the Global Sand Crisis?

The major impacts caused by the Global Sand Crisis are:

Biodiversity: Highly affects the water ecosystem ( i.e., Fishery )

Landscapes and Land losses: Chances of erosion.

Hydrological function: Difficult for flood regulation, marine currents, and evolutions in water flow.

Water supply: Lowers the water supply.

Infrastructures: The scarcity of sand restricts the building of infrastructures.

Climate: Bad emissions during transportation and cement making. (( ))



How can we avoid a Global Sand Crisis?

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has recently completed ten recommendations for stakeholders and policymakers to advance bearable, sustainable, and stewardship.

Global Sand Crisis

This guidance has been accepted by Helena van der Vegt, a Deltares researcher who acknowledges they form the organization’s motivation to assure habitable deltas, protection against flooding, sustainable water supplies, and infrastructure. The proposals cover three main compositions, i.e., planning, innovation, and sustainability.


Governments should plan to counterbalance economic blossoming for sand resources while attaching to international compacts like the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction.

The planning should contemplate elements like the quantity and timing of sand demanded for diverse monetary and climate strategies. Evaluating a country’s functional sand resources is essential to assure availability.


New creative innovations should be publicized to discover resolutions for sustainable sand operation, like the circular economizing and profitable service of depositions.


Note: Circular economy: The term “circular economy” refers to a monetary system that typically concentrates on the longevity and sustainability of outcomes and materials. This system is developed to provide products and materials that can be recycled, recovered, reused, and remanufactured rather than wasted.


Sustainable resources can assist in fulfilling the injunction for sand. Governments must implement policies restraining environmental consequences and defending social equivalency and ecosystem assistance. While entire circularity is improbable in the short to medium term, bearable resources can provide a better future. ((



10 Recommendations to Overcome a Global Sand Crisis

1. Determinate sand as an essential natural resource to deliver fundamental ecosystem services and underpin the construction of compulsory infrastructure in rapidly augmenting urban areas globally.

2. Make sure all those concerned have to say in sand transitions.

3. Facilitate a paradigm metamorphosis to a regenerative and circular future.

4. Expand strategic, integrated, and bearable policy and lawful frameworks tailored to local, national, and regional contexts, including circular economic tracks.

5. Hold and pass sand resources, launch mineral rights, and gain authorization. This certifies legal ownership and passes with approval.

6. Monitor, map, and convey sand resources for translucent, science-based, and data-driven determination-making.

7. Verify best practices, national standards, and a coherent international framework.

8. Lower sand use, substitute with options, and recycle sand-made consequences.

9. Energetically and deliberately procure sand in a virtuous, sustainable, and socially reliable manner.

10. Advance understanding, mainstream the alleviation hierarchy, and advance nature-based resolutions to convert ecosystems and reimburse for staying defeats.

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