Devoured: How China’s largest freshwater lake was decimated by sand mining. by Reuters

From Shanghai to Seattle, the world’s cities are built on sand - massive amounts of sand. It’s in the cement and concrete that make the bulk of most buildings. The glass in those buildings’ windows is made with sand, too. So is the tarmac laid onto the roads around them.

Reuters gathered evidence to reveal the true extent of sand mining at China’s largest freshwater lake. We showed how dredging ships have sucked millions of tonnes of sand from the bed and shores of Poyang lake, drastically altering its ability to function.