The United Arab Emirates imported $456 million worth of sand, stone and gravel in 2014.


That's right, the United Arab Emirates spent almost a half a billion dollars to buy sand...


Never mind that the the UAE is known for its expansive deserts filled with... SAND!

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While it may seem a bit bizarre, the reason is actually rather simple.


The UAE imports the sand for construction... and wind-formed desert sand is too smooth for construction.


Actually, globally, sand is becoming a rather hot commodity.


Almost 200 million tons of sand and gravel were mined around the world in 2014. Pascal Peduzzi, director of science at the United Nations Environment Programme’s Division of Early Warning and Assessment, told the BBC that it's the second most abundantly used natural resource in the world after water.

Sand is used to make everything from paint to cement, so it kind of makes sense, right?