The excitement of getting ready on the beach to go surfing, the waves, the view and the relaxing feeling once you’re back at shore would all not be possible without the beach itself. This taken-for-granted wonder, though, is rapidly disappearing.
Sand is present in numerous everyday items – the electronic chip in our computer contains sand, the solar panel on our houses contain sand along with our house itself. Sand has become the 2nd most extracted natural resource on Earth after water, we use about 40 billion tons of sand each year globally and most of this sand is marine sand.
The reason why marine sand is more sought-after than desert sand is its unique structure: while desert sand grains are very round, marine sand grains are more angular and create a stable structure as construction subbase and as part of the popular construction-material concrete. The bigger the construction project the more sand is required, but even an average family house needs about 200 tons of sand and this adds up. The consequences of the excessive sand mining are already showing on the coastlines: Globally 75-90% of the beaches are retreating but in Florida, for example, this number is over 90%.
While we can all try to live a more sand-conscious life and try to avoid buying items which contain sand, the best thing we can do is raise awareness. Until there’s no social pressure to change current practices, the construction industry and the fracking industry will continue using natural resources that should not be for sale. Here’s an infographic which explains the issue of sand scarcity and that can provide further information on the topic. One step at a time change can happen and should happen. Check it out!