A conservative estimate for the world consumption of aggregates (sand and gravel) exceeds 40 billion tonnes a year. This is twice the yearly amount of sediment carried by all of the rivers of the world making humankind the largest of the planet’s transforming agent with respect to aggregates.
Desert sand is no good for construction because the wind erosion makes the sand too round to bind in cement.
Extracting sand is a $70 billion per year industry.
Sand prices are now about $70 per ton and sometimes can be as high as $200 per ton. There is global criminal activity related to the sand trade and there are environmental effects. The average price of sand imported by Singapore was US$3 per tonne from 1995 to 2001, but the price increased to US$190 per tonne from 2003 to 2005
Singapore only imported about 517 million tons over 20 years out of 40 billion per year but this is a major part of imports because big countries can get sand from elsewhere in their own country
SOURCES – UNEP, Wired
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