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Story Publication logo August 8, 2016

The Increasing Global Demand For Sand

Land reclamation works are on-going at this area of Tuas, Singapore's westernmost area where a new massive container port—the world's largest in the next 30 years—is being built. The port authority is using materials dredged from the nearby seabed and earth excavated from tunneling work on a subway line to cut use of sand by about 70 per cent in the building of this pier—which will be one of four eventually. Singapore has been short of sand for its sizeable and continual land reclamation and construction…

Concrete. Glass. Silicon. Our civilization is built on the most important yet most overlooked...

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Media file: sand_mining_with_suction_pumps-1-1024x683.jpg
Sand miners' boats and suction pumps in India. Sumaira Abdulali/Wikimedia Commons.

On NPR's Diane Rehm show August 8, 2016: listen here

Sand is essential for modern construction. Almost every new office tower, road and shopping mall being built in Asia's booming cities is made with concrete mixed with sand. And to get more sand, companies and people are pulling sand out of rivers and oceans at an unprecedented rate, say scientists. And in the deep ocean waters off the U.S., sand is being excavated to restore coastlines from Louisiana to New Jersey.

Some estimate that extracting sand is a $70-billion industry. Diane and a panel of guests take a look at the increasing demand for sand, and concerns about the impact of dredging on river and ocean life worldwide.

Vince Beiser journalist whose reporting is funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. His writing has appeared in The New York Times and Wired magazine.

David Roche attorney, Environmental Law Institute.

Geoffrey Wikel oceanographer, Division of Environmental Assessment, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, U.S. Dept of the Interior.

Barry Holliday executive director, Dredging Contractors of America; former chief of navigation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.






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