Sand Wars

Sand Wars


Probably the most fascinating – and angriest – documentary you’ll see for a while. Each year, the world uses an unimaginable 15 billion tons of sand to fuel the global boom in construction and road-building. But where does that sand come from, and is this pillaging of the planet’s third most useful resource, after air and water, possibly sustainable?

As one researcher says, “It’s like the air we breathe; you don’t think about it, but you can’t live without it.” But increasingly, people are having to live without the magical properties of sea sand (desert sand just won’t do – it’s the shape of the grains). From Morocco to Indonesia, sand is being smuggled from coastlines or dredged from sea beds to be sold to developers in Dubai or Singapore. And the popularity of damming is preventing sand from even getting to the sea in the first place.

The figures are astonishing; the greed and shortsightedness on display here are appalling. Enjoy your beach holidays now; they might not be around for long.


An investigation into sand, one of the most consumed natural resources on the planet. Due to high demand, reserves are now threatened and three-quarters of the world's beaches are in decline. It is a source of silicon dioxide, a mineral found in a variety of household goods including toothpaste, paper and cleaning products, and it is also used in the making of many structures such as bridges and pavements.