Sand disaster looms as world inhabitants surges, UN warns

A employee operates a entrance loader in an space cleared for sand mining on a dried lake mattress of Poyang Lake in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province, China December 11, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Track/File Picture

GENEVA: A U.N. report on Tuesday referred to as for pressing motion to avert a “sand disaster,” together with a ban on seaside extraction as demand surges to 50 billion tonnes a 12 months amid inhabitants development and urbanisation.

Sand is essentially the most exploited pure useful resource on the planet after water, however its use is basically ungoverned, which means we’re consuming it sooner than it may be changed by geological processes that take a whole lot of 1000’s of years, the U.N. Atmosphere Programme (UNEP) report says.

World consumption to be used in glass, concrete and development supplies has tripled over twenty years to succeed in 50 billion tonnes a 12 months, or about 17 kilogrammes per individual every day, it mentioned, harming rivers and coastlines and even wiping out small islands.

“We now discover ourselves within the place the place the wants and expectations of our societies can’t be met with out improved governance of sand sources,”

Sheila Aggarwal-Khan, director of the Financial system Division at UNEP mentioned within the report’s foreword. “If we act now, it’s nonetheless doable to keep away from a sand disaster.”

UNEP’s Pascal Peduzzi who coordinated the report written by 22 authors mentioned that a number of the impacts of over-exploitation have been already being felt. Within the Mekong River – the longest in Southeast Asia -sand extraction was inflicting the delta to sink, resulting in salinisation of beforehand fertile lands.

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In a Sri Lankan river, sand removing had reversed the water circulation, which means that ocean water was heading inland and bringing salt-water crocodiles with it, he instructed journalists.

Demand is now seen as shifting to Africa the place villagers typically take away sand from seashores to construct rising cities. In some circumstances, this will make coastlines extra weak to the impression of local weather change, similar to extra highly effective storms, the report mentioned.

Among the many report’s suggestions have been a ban on seaside extraction and the creation of a world commonplace for marine dredging that may hurt ocean biodiversity.

It additionally referred to as for lowering demand by reusing sand from recycled supplies like concrete and mining tailings as a substitute of utilizing naturally occurring sand.