The world is actually running out of sand. Here's how.

It is one of the greatest sustainability challenges of the 21st century
Loukia Papadopoulos

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Did you know that sand is the second-most-consumed raw material on the planet after water? This may not seem like a problem as it is everywhere but in reality, the world is running out of sand.

One of the main factors for this shortage is global urbanization. The number of residents in urban areas has quadrupled since 1950. It has reached an average of 4.2 billion and is predicted by the United Nations to increase by 2.5 billion more in the next three decades.

Due to this unprecedented and unstoppable rise in urbanization, the world’s use of sand has tripled within the last two decades at around 40 to 50 billion tonnes of sand consumed yearly. Experts are now referring to the situation as one of the greatest sustainability challenges of the 21st century.

It's not all sand that is in demand, however. Angular sand is what is used in the construction of urban buildings everywhere because it binds more and forms stable concrete. This type of sand is created by the erosion of water.

What other types of sand are there? Can they replace angular sand? What would happen if we did indeed run out of sand? This video answers all these questions.

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