Humans extract enough sand every year to build a wall 27 metres wide around the Earth: UN

The United Nations on Tuesday (April 26) said that human beings extract enough sand every year to build a wall 27 metres wide around the Earth.

In its report, the agency said that sand needs to be recognised as a key strategic resource by both industries and governments.

According to one of the study’s authors, Chris Hackney, “The aim is to shift the focus on to sand as a commodity and a material that should be treated in the same light as other mineral commodities – be that mineral deposits, water, oil or gas.”

Sand mining faces uneven social and economic impacts as sand is one of the most exploited resources after water.

The UN believes that a fundamental shift in the understanding and valuation of sand is needed urgently.

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“These are all regulated from the local to national levels, operating within standardised international frameworks. That’s completely lacking at the moment for sand and aggregates,” said Hackney.

Activists have increased awareness about the need for greater monitoring of extraction and supply chains in the case of sand.

From construction to IT manufacturing, sand is used for myriad purposes and humans are extremely reliant on it.

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“Globally, the sand supply base is not known and only aggregate production estimates are available,” the UN report stated.

The production of sand has risen 4.9 per cent in 2021 from 42.2 billion tonnes as per an estimate by the Global Aggregates Information Network.

(With inputs from agencies)