Shifting sand

The city state is three and a half times the size of Washington DC with nearly eight times as many inhabitants. Yet its diminutive stature belies its ambition.
To maintain its status as a global financial hub, Singapore has expanded its surface area by 22% since the 1960s; an operation which involves extensive land reclamation and construction – up, down and outwards. The process requires vast quantities of sand. Singapore needs to source this from beyond its national boundaries and this is proving harder and harder to do. Among its neighbours, one government after another has limited or banned exports of sand to Singapore due to its potentially heavy environmental toll.

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