Global Sand Shortage

Global Sand Shortage | Causes of Global Sand Shortage



Shortage of sand throughout the world is Global Sand Shortage. You may be shocked but almost all countries are facing this problem. Many online media like The Guardian, BBC, Businessinsider, Forbes, etc have provided the detail information and we are also trying to explain different causes, effects and more from our research.


Causes of Global Sand Shortage

Some of the causes of global sand shortage are:


a. Construction of Artificial Islands

Construction of artificial islands needs a huge amount of sand.

For Example: Minimum 94 million cubic meters of sand was used in the construction of Palm Jumeirah.

Some of the countries that are responsible for using the highest amount of sand for Islands construction are:




b. Construction of Skyscrapers

Skyscraper needs a high amount of sand for its construction. The number of skyscrapers is increasing day by day. Hence, it is causing a global shortage of sand.

For Example: Sand is one of the main ingredients of concrete and in Burj Khalifa construction; about 330,000,000 litres of concrete was used. From this, we can know that a huge amount of sand is required to construct skyscrapers.

Some of the countries that are responsible for using a huge amount of sand for Skyscrapers construction are:



As we know, China is the largest consumer of sand as well as concrete throughout the world.  It is in rank 1 on our list because of the increasing numbers of skyscrapers drastically.


c. Exporting of a large amount of sand by many countries

Many countries are behaving like sand mafia. Yes, you have heard correct. Countries like the Netherlands, USA, etc are exporting a large amount of sand to make billions of dollars. They know the effect of excessive use of sand from the rivers, deserts, etc; but they are neglecting it.

Some large exporters of sand in 2019 – 2020 are:

United States: US$461.3 million (27.7% of total sand exports)

Netherlands: $225.6 million (13.5%)

Germany: $133.4 million (8%)

Belgium: $120 million (7.2%)

Australia: $97.9 million (5.9%)

France: $53.8 million (3.2%)

Egypt: $41.6 million (2.5%)

Saudi Arabia: $38.6 million (2.3%)

Taiwan: $36.6 million (2.2%)

Malaysia: $32.3 million (1.9%)

Vietnam: $30.5 million (1.8%)

Canada: $28.4 million (1.7%)

Mozambique: $25.4 million (1.5%)

United Kingdom: $23.3 million (1.4%)

Portugal: $22.9 million (1.4%)


d. Large uses of concrete instead of alternatives

The sand extraction is very easy, so many countries are not focusing on its alternatives.

Sand extraction sources of many countries are fully utilized. But that countries are importing sand despite looking for alternatives. Hence, it is also leading to a sand shortage.


Effects of Global Sand Shortage

a. Increase in demand increases the rate of any material. So, the cost of sand increases with its shortage.

b. Global sand shortage slow-downs the rate of constructions throughout the world.



The best way to overcome global sand shortage is by finding alternatives. Excessive use of sand from the sources leads to different problems like cutting of riverbank, flood, etc. Hence steels, prefabrications, cement boards, etc should be used to reduce the use of sand.



Read More: Grades of Concrete

Read More: Water Treatment Process


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