A problem with "Sand" bag training.... Sand

The current state of the illicit sand trade is spiraling out of control. Within the shadowy realm of conflict minerals, there exists a clandestine market generating staggering revenues ranging from $200 billion to $350 billion annually. Contrary to expectations, this isn't about blood diamonds or cobalt. It's about sand.

Surprisingly, sand ranks as the world's second most utilized natural resource, trailing only behind water. It serves as a fundamental component in the construction of civilization itself—being integral to the production of concrete, glass, and asphalt.

Yet, the supply is dwindling.

Despite the perception that deserts are abundant with sand, desert sand lacks the necessary coarseness for stable concrete, while sea sand is rendered unusable due to its salinity. Utilizing either type can result in structurally weak buildings, exacerbating disasters such as Turkey's earthquake in 2023.

Hence, the approximately 50 billion tons of construction-grade sand consumed annually is sourced predominantly from lakes, rivers, and shorelines worldwide.

The extraction of such vast quantities from a finite resource inevitably leads to the anticipated consequences—coastal erosion, flooding, and aquifer depletion.

In Sri Lanka, overexploitation has even triggered a river to reverse its flow, enabling saltwater crocodiles to infiltrate upstream into densely populated urban areas.

While transitioning to sustainable extraction practices appears to be a viable solution, it often drives prices up, subsequently fueling the proliferation of black markets.

This, in turn, emboldens organized crime syndicates to establish illegal mining operations in regions such as Morocco, Mozambique, and even the United States.

Recent statistics from the American think tank, Global Financial Integrity, reveal that illegal sand trade ranks as the third-largest global criminal enterprise, following drugs and counterfeiting.

Moreover, experts forecast that the depletion of construction-grade sand could occur as early as 2050, amplifying the profitability of this illicit trade.

However, all is not lost.

In 2022, the United Nations unveiled a comprehensive 10-point strategy aimed at averting a sand crisis. This plan advocates for exploring alternatives such as ash derived from waste incineration, which could mitigate the demand for illegal sand.

Additionally, it proposes embracing the recycling of construction materials and electronic waste—a practice already successfully implemented in Germany, where 87% of household and industrial waste is recycled, with the remainder being incinerated.

In light of these efforts, perhaps another unconventional approach could involve raising awareness through a compelling action film narrative, featuring Liam Neeson battling both crocodiles and sand smugglers.

Reading next

Unleashing the Power of Body Tempering: Enhancing Your Strength and Mobility

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.