We're running out of sand - yet another market failure

פורסם: 22 בפבר׳ 2014, 21:30 על ידי: Sustainability Org   [ עודכן 22 בפבר׳ 2014, 21:34 ]
I saw a 52 min. edit of this documentary on Swedish Public Service TV:

SAND WARS – The official site which has a 2:50 long trailer

Unfortunately the Swedish Public Service TV site is the only place I know of where it’s currently available. And here it’s been locked in so it can only be viewed in Sweden. And only for about 3 more days. (And for several seconds at a time it’s also got a Swedish speaker voice, and a bunch of foreign languages spoken are texted to Swedish.)

Even so, here’s the link to the Swedish Public Service TV version:

Dokument utifrån - Sandkriget | SVT Play


Most of us think of it as a complimentary ingredient of any beach vacation. Yet those seemingly insignificant grains of silica surround our daily lives. Every house, skyscraper and glass building, every bridge, airport and sidewalk in our modern society depends on sand. We use it to manufacture optical fiber, cell phone components and computer chips. We find it in our toothpaste, powdered foods and even in our glass of wine (both the glass and the wine, as a fining agent)!

Is sand an infinite resource? Can the existing supply satisfy a gigantic demand fueled by construction booms? What are the consequences of intensive beach sand mining for the environment and the neighboring populations?

Based on encounters with sand smugglers, barefoot millionaires, corrupt politicians, unscrupulous real estate developers and environmentalists, this investigation takes us around the globe to unveil a new gold rush and a disturbing fact: the “SAND WARS” have begun.

Source: SAND WARS – The official site
Plot Summary for
Sand Wars (2013)

After fresh water, sand is the most consumed natural resource on the planet. As a logical consequence of this exploitation, sand's limited reserves are threatened today. "Sand wars," triggered by building booms, are raging everywhere in the world and 3/4 of the planet's beaches are in decline and bound to disappear, victims of erosion and - as hard it might be to comprehend - smuggling. Most of us see sand as a free material, a staple of holidays spent on the shore, in unlimited supply. Sand is everywhere around us, be it beach, desert or town. Every house, every skyscraper with a dazzling glass front, all our bridges, airports and sidewalks - are basically made of sand. We use it as well to make fiber optic cable, mobile phone components and computer chips. We even slip some into our toothpaste, our powered food, our glass of wine. But is this omnipresent material inexhaustible? Can the available quantity match an ever-increasing demand that is constantly fed by the need for human lodging and expansion? What will be the consequences of intensive sand extraction on the environment and life on the planet? In tracking sand's "new" smugglers, corrupt politicians, unscrupulous property developers, and the ecologists trying to halt the erosion and disappearance of beaches, this investigation will take us around the world to witness this new gold rush firsthand. The "sand wars" has started. Who is ready to lead? Written by Delestrac, Denis

Source: Sand Wars (2013) - Plot Summary @ IMDB [My underline.]
A (rather parcial) selection:

You see, there’s a difference between the little granulates. The sand you find in a desert has been polished, so all the roughness on those granulates has disappeared. In the building sector they want sand with roughness.

So what do the scruple less usual suspects do?

Why, they go sand grabbing! (of course) Getting it where they can: At the worlds beaches, and sea beds.

Singapore accused of launching 'Sand Wars' - Telegraph

Yes. You can sell sand to an Arab.

Sea resort sells sand to Arabs - News - The Independent

Saudi Arabia Running out of Sand : TreeHugger

Sheikh to import 3,000 tons of sand from Lancashire - Telegraph
(And that would be Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai)

Dubai, of course, ran out because of little sparks of genius like these:

The World is sinking: Dubai islands 'falling into the sea' - Telegraph

Palm Islands - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia