Sand shortage sparks innovation in Singapore | Money Talks

Singapore's skyscrapers have soared just like its economy this tiny city-state has one of the biggest economies in Southeast Asia but much of his financial heart sits on land that previously did not exist Singapore has grown almost a quarter in size over the past five decades through land reclamation using imported sand but that expansion has come with steep environmental costs they are dredging everything all the coastline and estuaries here we only have the right to sit shed tears and witness the destruction of our grandchildren's home our village and our way of life Singapore's biggest and suppliers included Cambodia Indonesia and Malaysia and before banned or restricted exports in recent years due to environmental concerns those include flooding damaged coastal life and more landslides and droughts but analysts say export bans have done little to curb demand for sand which is needed in construction these man-made beaches on Singapore's southern coast are products of imported sand from Indonesia and Malaysia but these screens as well as desert sand are suitable for construction to make strong and long-lasting concrete you need angular sand that binds together like pieces of a puzzle you also want clean particles that don't contain salt which causes erosion and the best place to find them is at the bottom of rivers that's a very finite resource which the UN says we're running out of about fifty billion tons of sand and gravel consumed every year around the world that number is projected growth due to unprecedented expansions of cities China's geopolitical ambitions are also putting a further squeeze on supplies it's planning an infrastructure project to connect and develop three of the world's continents so this infrastructure the belt roads going to be huge huge amounts of sand are going to be need so where are they going to get that from different countries will have different environmental regulations and will they try and bypass that and go to the countries that have the weakest environmental regulation the economic cost is not known on the environment well China is turn itself into the world's biggest sand miner Singapore is searching for alternatives through recycling and 3d printing local scientists are incorporating leftover ash from a coal power plant to make a new concrete mixture for traditional concrete as much as sixty percent of it comprises sand in 3d printing the aim is to replace all the sand with sustainable materials like fly ash or even recycled glass these substitutes are still largely in the test phase but these scientists are determined to develop earth friendly alternatives for the commodity that Singapore has used to build itself so hi Sandy Cohen TRT world Singapore you

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