Sand thefts

Sand is a resource which is, like every other, in finite supply.
This Guardian / Observer piece includes some fascinating information on the theft of sand from beaches for use in large construction projects. It is being removed and dredged in industrial quantities.
Sand is not just sand - there are different grades depending on the original parent material and the correct one needs to be used for mixing with concrete, for example.

Some excellent information provided in the article.

The world consumes between 30 and 40bn tonnes of building aggregate a year, and half of this is sand. 
Enough material to build a wall 27m high and 27m wide around the equator. 
Sand is second only to water as a natural material extracted by humans, and our society is built on it, quite literally. 
Global production has risen by a quarter in just five years, fuelled by the insatiable demands of China and India for housing and infrastructure. 
Of the 15 to 20 billion tonnes used annually, about half goes into concrete. 
Our need for concrete is such that we make almost 2 cubic metres worth each year for every man, woman and child on the planet.

Image: Alan Parkinson