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Top 4 Contributing Factors to the Sand Shortage

Top 4 Contributing Factors to the Sand Shortage

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There are an estimated 5 sextillion grains of sand on the earth. That’s a mindboggling number, so it’s hard to imagine how we could ever run out of the stuff! 
But we are. 
Sand is one of the most-consumed natural resources on the planet; we use it to make everything from concrete and asphalt to glass! And we’re using it in such vast quantities these days those supplies are dwindling. Want to find out why? 
Keep reading to discover 4 contributing factors to the global sand shortage.
1. The Type of Sand
This first issue might help explain how we can run out of a resource that seems so limitless. Basically, not all types of sand are made equal. 
When it comes to construction, manufacturers require sand that’s been created as a result of water erosion. Alas, the sand that fills deserts is wind-eroded instead, which makes the grains too smooth and round to form quality concrete (the primary product we use sand to make). 
As a result, we’re restricted to certain sources, such as riverbeds and beaches, where the sand is more angular. Supplies are limited, though, making it a matter of time before demand outweighs what’s available.
2. The Growing Demand
That word “demand” is pivotal here too. It’s worth re-emphasizing the point we made in our introduction: sand is consumed in mind-boggling quantities, second only to water! It’s a fundamental ingredient in all manner of products that we rely upon to build everything from cities to technology. 
Despite rises in sand price, demand is only increasing as urbanization surges in countries far and wide. Suppliers can’t keep up. The potential to start running out of sand was born.
3. The Global Population
Okay, but what’s fueling this rising demand? We’ve already mentioned urbanization, but there’s another more foundational factor in play: the world’s population is growing. 
Furthermore, large quantities of people are moving from rural areas to cities in search of jobs, a better quality of life, and so on. Urban areas expand in the process, with more houses, skyscrapers, and roads necessary to handle the influx of people. 
This is happening everywhere, but the rate of change is most notable in developing countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. And guess what? They need sand to fuel the growth.
4. Land Creation
Buildings, roads, and other infrastructure aren’t the only things we’re using sand for. We’re also extracting, shipping, and dumping enormous amounts of it to create new land. All over the globe, countries are taking sand and piling it in coastal areas to establish artificial landmasses. 
Take Dubai’s famous palm tree-shaped islands, for instance. Or China, which has expanded its own coastline dramatically in recent times. This new land might be valuable, but it takes its toll in terms of the sand shortage. 

Remember These Sand Shortage Factors 

The notion of a world sand shortage might seem laughable at first. After all, how can a planet covered in sand ever run out of it?! Do some digging, though, and you begin to realize the issue is both real and cause for concern. 
We hope these insights on the shortage of sand have shed light on why it’s happening. Hungry for more information on similar topics? Spend some more time browsing our blog today! 


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