Did you know that sand is a critical ingredient in glass, computer chips, and solar panels? The sand covering our beaches provides much more than vacation enjoyment. In fact, after water, sand is the second most extracted resource. Unfortunately, sand is in limited supply. Studies show that we risk running out of sand by the year 2100. The cause—excessive and illegal sand extraction—threatens to change our way of life.
Since sand is essential to many industries, several countries struggle with illegal trade and extraction of sand. In Jamaica, an entire 1300-foot beach was stolen overnight! India loses 2 billion tons of sand to theft each year. Whereas, in Morocco, the mafia controls 45% of the sand.
Extracting huge quantities of sand from popular beaches doesn’t only damage the tourist industry, but it also has consequences that put lives at risk. In Taiwan, India, and Portugal, bridges have already collapsed because sand extraction from nearby riverbanks weakened the infrastructure holding the bridges.
What are the alternatives to relying on sand? We could recycle more concrete and glass. Recycled glass is proven to be as strong as sand concrete. It’s also 14% cheaper. We could also use clay and raw earth to create structures and buildings. Finding a solution to save our natural resource is crucial to preserving our way of life, and of course our beloved family trips.