FFS, Now We’re Running Out of Sand

Sorry, but this kind of sand just won't do.Hollandse-Hoogte via ZUMA

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We are running out of sand. No, really, and here’s a chart to prove it:

Now wait a second. The Sahara Desert is brimming with sand. Why can’t we use that?

Desert sand grains are too smooth to be useful, and most of the angular sand that is suitable for industry comes from rivers (less than 1% of the world’s land). This extraction of sand and gravel has far-reaching impacts on ecology, infrastructure and the livelihoods of the 3 billion people who live along rivers.

Huh. How about that?

Current estimates of global sand mining are unreliable and undoubtedly too low….There are few long-term, basin-wide programmes monitoring sediment. It is technically hard to quantify how sand moves or is deposited along rivers….In many countries, sand mining is unregulated and might involve local ‘sand mafias’….In the Mekong delta, the Vietnamese government estimates that nearly 500,000 people will need to be moved away from river banks that are collapsing as a result of sand mining in the channel.

Click the link if you want to read more about what we can do to support a sustainable, eco-friendly sand industry.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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