While viewed as a seemingly limitless natural resource, the levels of certain kinds of sand have started to steadily decrease as the world’s need for further development increases. The sand that is gathered for building resources has almost caught up to the sand that is naturally made.
Sand is an essential item required for building and construction. It is a key component of concrete, asphalt, and glass that are used to structure nearly every building. It also accounts for 80% of all mining activity across the globe, according to a 2014 United Nations Environment Program report.
The demand is now higher than ever while the levels available are low worldwide. It is even the subject of major theft, especially in urban areas pushing for advanced innovation such as the United States. Some even estimate that the aggregate business shares involving sand are already worth $70 billion in annual sales. The importance of this resource is only further proven as “sand mafias” in India are willing to sell sand they mined illegally on the black market. Without a steady supply of sand, many believe urban and suburban development will slow significantly.