Saudi arabia features a lot of sand. that should be ideal for a part of society with a penchant for making ever bigger structures and more and more posh hotels on reclaimed land fanning out into the arabian gulf. unfortunately, it is the wrong type of sand.

The rub al khali wilderness, whoever undulating dunes motivated both lawrence of arabia and wilfred thesiger, consists of grains also small, also circular and also smooth becoming much use for construction; you may so well make bricks out-of icing sugar. therefore the paradox of gulf countries importing sand from australian continent therefore the rise in popularity of dredging up marine sand to create synthetic countries, among other utilizes.

Sand shortages, while the resultant environmental toll, have traditionally been predicted. vietnam, a country where pristine palm-fringed shores provide welcome r&r respite, has said it will probably flunk this current year. consultancy kearney highlighted a shortage of global sand again, the proper type of sand as one of its top phone calls a year ago.

Chart showing interest in construction sand. value v volume

Still, the pandemic could prove a respite. a few tasks, from infrastructure to home-building, have-been mothballed. other individuals look anachronistic: take hong kongs third runway, planned at the same time when there were even more planes within the sky than on a lawn. unfortuitously for marine life and sand bulls, the absence of cheap sand substitutes allied to humankinds passion for follies suggests that any reprieve will likely be temporary.

Chart showing measurements of sand grains, from different regions of saudi arabia

Text changed to get rid of an inconsistency utilizing the graphic.