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Sand Wars: The World Is Running Out of Sand

Sand Wars: A World Without Sand?

It’s summer vacation, and you and your friends are planning a trip to the beautiful beaches of Southeast Asia. Although you have never been to places such as Singapore or Morocco, you have heard stories of the renowned crystal blue waters, the luscious green trees, and more likely  the white sandy beaches as early as you can remember. Social media sites are constantly publicizing the beautiful scenery, uploading photographs of the famous beaches and advertising for the sense of relaxation that these countries offer.

When planning your trip, you probably weren’t aware that most of the beaches in Morocco, Singapore, and the islands of Indonesia have been pillaged down to the rock. There is no longer the fluffy white sand coating the shores that you had initially imagined. Sand mafias have destroyed these beaches in Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Morocco, Indonesia, Dubai, and India.

The captivating documentary, Sand Wars, educates viewers on the value of sand and its countless uses. The film travels around the world, studying the corrupt governments in India which have been overthrown by the sand mafias, and even focusing on the harmful effects of dredging in more industrially developed countries. Sand Wars additionally faces the crisis that our world will soon have to accept- life without sand. As explained in the film, sand is used in almost every aspect of our daily lives, from microchips in computers to cellphones, glass bottles, and most importantly construction. The average house takes about 200 tons of sand to build, and the typical hospital uses around 3000 tons of this resource. One of the main questions that the film sparks is what would civilization be without sand?

Sand Wars discusses a possible future in a world without sand. Sand is a resource vital to innovation, new inventions, and even a necessity for shelter. So why is this a problem? This riveting documentary explains how all the sand on land has been consumed by construction companies, and why dredging for underwater sand is destroying Earth with every drill. Sand is being illegally trafficked, stolen, and transported behind regulations, and soon there will be none left since it is becoming a finite resource since sand formation has been hindered by human interference such as dams and coral destruction .

The gripping documentary provides factual evidence through statistics as well interviews with credible professors and scientists throughout the film. Michael Welland, a geologist, provides insight on the topic and so does Kira Pereira, a researcher. Sand Wars even goes into the field, interviewing illegal sand trafficking workers in Singapore and showing the destroyed shores of pillaged beaches which are now empty craters of rocks.

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One of the most effective measures of preventing sand from completely vanishing as a resource is reusing and recycling current infrastructure materials. As stated by the UNEP Global Environmental Alert Service, “One way to reduce consumption of sand is to optimize the use of existing buildings and infrastructure. Recycled building and quarry dust material can be a substitute for sand. Despite the very high value of minerals found in the sand, it is mostly used for concrete or is buried under highways. Concrete rubble should be recycled to avoid using aggregates, at least for low-quality uses (Kondolf, 1997).” The film Sand Wars additionally mentions various ways we as individuals can help prevent the disappearance of sand, from recycling glass bottles, which can be crushed back into sand,  to finding alternative resources for sand and gravel.

Sand Wars is a fascinating film which approaches a typically unknown topic – the value of sand. This engrossing documentary both educates and entertains the audience on a subject which is commonly ignored. Sand is a limited resource, and the film explains how we can all do our part to prevent it from being completely annihilated.

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