If you google it, you will see millions of articles telling you that we are running out of sand at an alarming rate but, what they really mean is that we are running out of the sand fit for industrial use like – construction, making of glass, electronics etc.
What if, some crazy genius comes up with something that will enable us to harness all the sand there is, on this planet, will we still run out of sand?
According to United States Geological Survey (Link), in the year 2014-15, the net amount of sand consumed by humans is a whopping 196,000 thousand metric ton that is, 196,000,000,000 kilograms of sand a year.
A group of researchers at the University of Hawaii estimated that there are roughly 7.5 x 10^18 grains of sand on earth. Different grain size corresponds to different weight (Link) and on an average, a natural grain of sand weighs about 9.1425 mg.
From all these, the net amount of sand on earth including the seas and the deserts comes out to be about 68,568,7,50,000 thousand metric ton which is seriously huge!
If we keep consuming sand at the current rate, it will still last us for the next 350 thousand years (349840.56 years to be exact) but here’s the catch. In geographical perspective, this is like a blink of an eye for example, currently, our earth is about 4.543 billion years old while our earliest ancestors came into existence only 6 million years ago yet, here we are, on our way to consume all the sand on the planet within the next 350 thousand years which was supposed to last till the end of earth, which scientists at the University of East Anglia estimates to be around 1.75 to 3.25 billion years more.(Link)
Compared to the life of mother earth, we are even smaller than a second passing by yet, we are inevitably on our way to permanently strip her from her precious golden grains of sands.
So yes we are running out of sand and that too, very fast!