Saudis 'fear sand shortage'


… sez the BBC, and yeah, that's the Beeb's headline. The kingdom "has reportedly imposed strict border checks to enforce a ban on the export of sand." The "growing demands of the construction industry," goes the claim, "could lead to a shortage in the desert kingdom."


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  1. Richelieu to Metternich to Kissinger, they all got it wrong, I see that now!! It’s the crucial “balance of sand” that keeps the geopolitical order.

  2. That sonofa bitch construction magnate Osama bin Laden has ravaged Saudi Arabia’s natural resources. Death to the infidel!

  3. I could’ve sworn this was a headline from The Onion…

  4. And here I thought oil and homicidal idiocy were the only Saudi exports.

  5. Do Saudi enviornmentalists call themseleves “greens” or something else?

  6. Tans?


  7. Uh WTF?
    The country is currently drowning in it. It’s too expensive to package and ship. So they need to “impose strict boarder checks”.

    I don’t know what this is all about, but it just can’t be: “Our wild sand is becoming endangered.” Still, it’d be funny to see a busload of Greenpeacers doggedly positioning themselves behind a big dump-truck buried under a hundred tons of sand. HAR HAR HAR

  8. Damn, and I had a gold mine siting in my work boots all this time!

  9. Um geez, let’s see here… sand shortage… too expensive to bag… hey, can we get an economist over here?

  10. Actually, not all sand is the same, and I have a vague recollection that some Saudi sand is particularly ideal for certain purposes (concrete, maybe?) due to uniform grain size or somesuch.

    I bet this is more a concern about a depleting economic resource than an environmental issue.

  11. Virtually all environmental issues are about depleting economic resources, rc.

  12. A sand…shortage? LOL I seem to remember a heap of it! It was in my hair, boots, clothes, hat, food…what happened? If Saudi Arabia has a sand shortage what does every other nation have? If they are running out of sand, the entire nation must be floating because there isn’t much else over there.

  13. When I first got involved in right-wing politics in 1964, the joke was:
    “What would happen if the Arabs went Communist?”
    Answer: “A shortage of sand.”

    In fact, the Saudi economy is state-run, so there you have it.

  14. R.C.

    I remember something similar. I think the Saudi’s have to import sand for desalinization filters because it is a different type of sand.

  15. I think Saudi sand is a problem in Japan. It blows all over Asia. Perhaps I will remember the details of a Radio Japan broadcast on the matter. More of a problem in Korea, as I recall. Anyway the wind is exporting it and perhaps there are not enough imports. A balance of sand. What will replace it? The earth can’t just move east a little.

  16. Sand, being a durable and now scarce commodity, can finally serve not only as the object of money, but as money itself.

    My, how things have changed. Where once, it was “Pound Sterling,” now, will it be “Pound Sand”? It certainly looks like the world is headed that way… 🙂

  17. Sand going from Saudi Arabia to Japan, if anybody cares, is called aeolean dust; it takes about a week to reach Japan. They get dust from China too.

  18. Maybe if they conserve their scant sand resources now, they’ll be ok when the oil runs out or becomes obsolete.

  19. Verily I say unto thee: build not thy house on sand, nor thy border, oh ye sheiks.
    Sand beith pourous and permeable.

  20. I love that story. A true gem of modern journalism.
    Sources are: “The Arab News newspaper reports”, “Experts have told the newspaper” and “Construction experts say”. What would we mere mortals do without newspapers and experts?

    Poor BBC.

  21. Invert just one vowel in Saud (House of…) and you have Sand: Sandy Arabia: would make a good pick-up name at a beach party singles bar.

    I can see it now: Sanford Arabia, international man of mystery/mixed heritage.

  22. Sanford Arabia, international man of mystery/mixed heritage.

    The AADL would have a camel.

  23. James Merritt

    There was a “Sand Currency” gag in the first episode of Mork & Mindy. Mindy, having learned that Mork is an alien sent to observe Earth asks: “How will you support yourself?” to which Mork replies something like “No problem, I’m rich!” and drops two bags of sand on the kitchen counter…

    Just another eerily prophetic Mork moment…

  24. I seem to remember that there was a report on the Beeb some years ago that the Saudis were having to import sand for something. Golf hazards or something. It seems that the local product was no good for it.

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