Singapore may be just a small tiny dot on the world map. Yet, there is a very interesting fact that not people pay attention to. Singapore is the largest sand importer in the world, with sand imports worth close to US$300M in 2014. Singapore, well-known, for its land-scarce city, has been famous for using sand for land reclamation and building towers or sky scrapers for many commercial and public usage.
Besides construction purposes, sand is also an important material in water filtration. chemical and metals processing as well as in the plastic industry. Sand plays such a vital role yet silent role in our lives that we may be oblivious to the issues of sand exploitation in the world and in our region due to the lack of representation of sand in our mental schemas, or our knowledge base.
Last but not least, sand is important for beach nourishment. Beach nourishment is a process to supplement the beaches with sand due to eroding waves pattern that cause the lost of sand from beaches. Without beach nourishment, our beaches may not be attractive for the tourists to visit.
Sand, like water, is not as abundant as we imagined. Despite having 20% – 30% of the world covered with sand, not all the sand found is suitable for the uses as aforementioned. Surprisingly, countries in Middle East and Qatar have to import sand albeit their possession of large deserts.
I hope this blog will be to raise awareness to future purchasers of properties, water filtration systems and buyers of chemicals and plastics to be more discerning and understand the consequences of their choices.