Singapore accused of launching 'Sand Wars'
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February 12, 2010: Singapore has expanded by 20% since the 1960s and is still expanding further - thus, the tiny city-state has a huge demand for sand for new constructions. However, recent bans on the export of sand in Indonesia, Cambodia, and Vietnam have drastically decreased the supply, which has led to large-scale smuggling of sand in nearby Indonesia and Malaysia. The "sand thieves" make night-time raids on the beaches of these nations, carving up millions of tons of coastline. Environmentalists worry that entire islands in the area - which protect the mainland from tsunamis and storms - might disappear soon.


Game and Story Use

  • Smuggling sand might be a job for criminal PCs down on their luck (and so might hunting sand smugglers for bounty hunters) - but anything is better than being broke, right?
  • Just what might be hidden in that sand carelessly being excavated and transported? Nature spirits, ancient artifacts, the buried bones of fallen warriors… and all of these might have a baleful influence on the buildings constructed over them.
    • Or more prosaically, sand is also an important source of silicon for the semiconductor industry. Twenty minutes into the future, countries might go to war over sand and rare-earth metals just like they fight over fossil fuels today, or arable land before the industrial age.
  • The science fiction equivalent might be stealing chunks of asteroids from a star-nations' asteroid belt or ring belt around a gas giant.
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