A sandy problem requires a sandy solution!
On the list of things you most likely think about everyday, I would bet that the world’s sand supply is not very high on that list. But who can blame you? It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. But it is also the third most consumed natural resource on the planet earth, right after air and water. With this in mind, what if I told you that we are running out of sand?
It is not just any sand we are running out of though. The sand we are talking about is the stuff that is used most often in construction when mixing concrete, the stuff that your school is most likely made of.
This type of sand is normally collected along the banks and beds of rivers, as well as in lakes and on the seashore. And through natural processes like erosion, these collection points are refilled over time. But because of the huge demand for it, these areas are being stripped of their sand.
While this may not sound too bad at first, these activities have already hurt coral reefs all over the world ranging from Florida to Kenya. It has also resulted in a lot of fishermen seeing their nets come up empty because the act of gathering the sand clouds the water so much that a lot of sea life can’t survive. Kind of like how your feet kick up dirty clouds when you walk in a river, but on a massive scale!
So it’s pretty easy to see some of the issues that come from our gathering of this kind of sand. But humans are if not anything else, great problem solvers. And the main way people are looking at solving this problem is through recycling!
There are two main camps when it comes to this approach so far.
The first idea sees the use of recycled plastics being crushed down and added to cement, reducing the amount of sand needed to make cement. Another related idea to this is that the same effect can be achieved by using shredded used tires, but this idea is still pretty early on, but could also help solve the issue we have with recycling used tires!
The second idea is one coming out of New Zealand (Aotearoa) where a beverage company is taking its used glass bottles to make sand. They have set up machines that you can put glass bottles into. These machines then grind up the bottles, vacuum away the bottle labels and leave you with a pile of high quality glass sand.
Even though these solutions are really cool, it is really important to remember that while these more sustainable ways of getting the sand we need for construction isn’t the end answer. We also need to make sure we change how we design buildings so they use less concrete, or find a more sustainable material to build with or this problem will just continue in the future. But that just means there is even more room for us to get creative!
Building Design Facts
Global Sand Supply Shortage
Calculating Global Sand Demand
Replacement of Sand in Concrete
Alternatives to Using Sand in Construction
Alternatives to Sandbox Sand
7 Alternatives to Sandbox Sand
Using Plastic Waste to Solve Sand Shortage
The World is Built on Sand
The Messy Business of Sand Mining
22 Uses of Sand
How Sand is Made
Also In The August 2022 Issue
This method of detecting marine waste is truly out of this world!
Looking for free computing resources for your classroom? Check out Computing at School!
Never be late again with the help of this neat coding project!
From bulletproof vests to stronger tires, Kevlar is a really versatile material!
Time to learn how humans have kept track of time over the centuries
Check out how programmers are competing to make an even simpler Wordle!
Your dreams of having a robotic friend may be closer than you think!
Check out some of the cool ways virtual reality is being used in medicine!
A sandy problem requires a sandy solution!
Learn how you can use retro game design to help kids embrace their creativity!
Make a kitchen timer with this quick coding lab!
Perlin noise is as random as it gets!
Leave your mark on the world wide web with your own website!
cURL up on the couch and check out this cool open-source tool!
You know leap forward and fall back, now add a little kick with a leap Second
Check out some of the cool tech being invented for pets!
Discover the true origins of the great poop emoji!
Pokemon in Minecraft? Tell me more!
Collection of the Learnmore links from all of the August 2022 stories, in one place.
Interesting stories about computer science, software programming, and technology from August 2022.