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HOW WE USE SAND

HOW WE USE SAND

Most of us only ever think of sand when we're planning a vacation by the beach in the summer. Yet, you and I use sand every day of our lives. Sand is, in fact, one of the most consumed resources after water.

Unfortunately, no global data exists for the extraction of sand (Krausmann et al., 2009). However, conservative estimates show that world consumption of aggregates such as sand and gravel exceeds 40 billion tonnes a year (UNEP, 2014).

But what does that mean? How much is 40 billion tonnes? Here's some perspective

1 Tonne = 1000.00kg  or 2204.62lb

"How big is a billion? If a billion kids made a human tower, they would stand up past the moon. If you sat down to count from one to one billion, you would be counting for 95 years. If you found a goldfish bowl large enough hold a billion goldfish, it would be as big as a stadium."
- From the book 'How much is a million?' by David M Schwartz

Even if we don't understand the magnitude of an estimate as large as 40 billion tonnes, suffice it to say that

"This is twice the yearly amount of sediment carried by all of the rivers of the world (Milliman and Syvitski, 1992), making humankind the largest of the planet's transforming agent with respect to aggregates (Radford, 2005)." (UNEP, 2014) 

So how exactly do we humans use such a vast quantity of sand EVERY YEAR? The video below explains how sand is transformed into everyday objects, places and spaces that we take for granted. In one way or another, sand is required in order to make these things and more...