There is a resource that’s quickly becoming as valuable as water or oil. Sand is something we take for granted and that we have in abundance of. However, the demand for this supply is so big that there is even a black market for it.
The “sand mafia” is responsible for soil erosion in Jamaica and believe it or not, there are sand deposits that are guarded by armed people. As a building material, sand has passed the test of time because it has been used for thousands of years.
Today, sand is used for many things – from standard buildings and swimming pools, to smartphone screens and toothpaste. The demand for sand has grown after the construction boom in the world. Also, there is a large need for sand for the new technologies used for oil drilling.
The sand production has reached 196 million tons in 2014. Last year, the sand market in USA “weighted” $8.7 billion. After water, sand is the most widely used natural material. The demand for sand is unevenly distributed in the world. China has used up more sand in the last four years than the US in the last century. China is the fifth largest importer of sand in the world.
A big importer of sand is even the United Arab Emirates, even though it’s surrounded by deserts. UAE imports $456 million USD worth of sand. However, this reflects the ecological system. According to some estimates, sand exploitation led to many beach erosions around the world.