The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recently issued a warning that the world is facing a growing shortage of sand, which may stifle the production of everything from smartphones and office buildings to billions of glass bottles for the new crown vaccine. It is reported that after water, sand is the most consumed raw material in the world, used to make glass, concrete, asphalt and even silicon microchips.
According to reports, UNEP climate scientist and director of the Geneva Global Resource Information Database (GRID) Pascal Peduzzi warned in a recent webinar hosted by the think tank Chatham House that we never thought we would run out of sand, but the problem of sand shortage is Some places have already started.
There has been a shortage of sand, gravel, and crushed stone over the past ten years, driven by growing building development and demand for smartphones and other personal technologies that use screens.
According to UNEP data, the construction industry alone uses about 40-50 billion tons of sand every year. This is a 300% increase from 20 years ago, and it takes two years for every river on the planet to fill the gap.
According to GRID's Global Sand Observation Program, due to urbanization, population growth and infrastructure development trends, demand is still growing, and this trend is expected to continue.
It is reported that although the desert occupies one-third of the earth, the desert sand is too smooth and round and not suitable for construction. The work of mining sand is concentrated in more fragile environments, such as rivers, coastlines and seabeds, which have a serious impact on the local ecosystem.
According to reports, since sand is the main component of glass, there was a shortage of glass globally at least in 2015. Real estate developers sometimes have to wait several months to install windows on exposed skyscrapers.
The lack of glass is particularly worrying because billions of vials and syringes are needed to send the new crown vaccine to all parts of the world. The medical glass industry has just started to catch up with demand in 2020, but the pandemic of the new crown epidemic and subsequent vaccine promotion have greatly reversed the situation.
The Italian medicine bottle manufacturer Stevanato Group stated that the global demand for medicine bottles will increase by as much as 2 billion in the next two years.
GRID calls on governments and companies to solve the problem of sand shortage in a timely manner, such as establishing global standards and viable alternatives, while doing more to protect fragile habitats.
It is reported that researchers have begun to study alternatives to sand, including volcanic ash, agricultural waste, and fly ash (a by-product of coal combustion).
Post time: Mar-25-2021