Mining as a Cause of Environmental Disaster
Unfortunately, a tremendous upgrowth of the production sector requires the extraction of more and more materials that can be found on our planet. Mother Nature is generous, but we tend to impose upon her kindness and use her gifts in a way that does hurt our planet.
Our industrial activity on the planet costs it dearly as we already see the terrible consequences of the things and technologies that we believe to be the main driving force of the development of humanity. Mining belongs to the number of industries that affect nature the worst.
Despite it being useful for industry development, mining does great damage to the environment and biological diversity of the planet. Even worse is that its negative impact on nature is complex because it affects all its numerous elements.
As a process, mining involves the extraction of substances from the ground relevant to different industrial fields. It is needless to say that mining is a business that brings enormous sums of money to its holders. The very core of the mining industry reminds of an act of depredation because it involves taking away the resources that belong rightfully to nature.
The use of various technologies of search and removal of the materials results in many negative consequences for our geological system. These consequences include the formation of sinkholes that begin due to the collapse of mines that are not used anymore or are constructed out of accordance with the present rules of mine construction (Shennan, Ian, Antony Long, and Benjamin Horton 83).
What is more, the activity of mines very often ends up in erosion that occurs when earth materials and soil are destroyed by the wind and surface water streams. Soil erosion is a problem that affects all life forms that can be found in the territory where it occurs.
Sometimes it takes place without reference to human activity, and in such a case, its consequences nature is not so devastating if compared to the ones of erosion caused by mining. To continue, a growth of mining activity factors into such a terrible phenomenon as soil and groundwater contamination caused by the use of chemicals that are an essential part of the mining process (Haque et al. 618).
What makes us look even more inconsiderate is that the contamination of soil in any circumstance leads to the harm of our health — realizing that we are still using chemicals that destroy our ecological system. However, if we take into consideration the sums of money made at the mining business, it all falls into place.
Besides being one of the greatest contributors to the geological disaster that is coming, the mining industry constantly affects the biological diversity of our planet. Nature is a system of closely interconnected elements, and it is impossible to do any harm to a certain element without disturbing others.
The soil and the water polluted due to mining activity are a house for many biological species that suffer from our tendency to close the stable door after the horse has bolted. Mine dewatering may have an impact on the life of aquatic organisms by changing the hydrogen index of the water. Worse still, this effect generally tends to last long, and the terrible consequences may show when the right moment to fend off losses is already missed.
Due to the interconnection of all aquatic organisms, the use of dangerous chemicals leaves every organism affected: the smallest units of underwater life as microorganisms also get a share of noxious substances. As for terrestrial animals, they may be effected through the contact with land plants that get poison directly from the polluted soil.
Land plants growing near the territory of producing and even abandoned mines tend to accumulate metals like copper and lead, which may be a danger for livestock (Pareja-Carrera et al. 210). Further, the mining industry destroys huge areas of wildlife habitat, leading animals to search for another place suitable for nutrition and reproduction of their species.
At last, humankind is also affected by the mining activity because our connection with other biological creatures is inextricable. We have a chance to eat the meat of animals or the harvest that contains the harmful substance, but due to the high level of food quality control, this chance is remote.
At the same time, the situation is a no-win for one who works as a miner. Having everyday contact with harmful substances, miners are susceptible to numerous diseases. In most cases, they tend to suffer from skin and lung diseases that take a heavy toll on their health.
To conclude, the number of negative consequences of mining activity indicates the gravity of the present ecological situation to which the mining industry is one of the greatest contributors. The things that humanity believes to be the driving force of its progress, in fact, have nothing to deal with the development. Instead, further progress of industry, including mining, is a step towards a natural disaster.
Haque, Nawshad, Anthony Hughes, Seng Lim and Chris Vernon. “Rare Earth Elements: Overview of Mining, Mineralogy, Uses, Sustainability and Environmental Impact.” Resources 3.4 (2014): 614-635. Print.
Pareja-Carrera, Jennifer, Rafael Mateo and Jaime Rodriguez-Estival. “Lead (Pb) in Sheep Exposed to Mining Pollution: Implications for Animal and Human Health.” Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 108.1 (2014): 210-216. Print.
Shennan, Ian, Antony Long, and Benjamin Horton. Handbook of Sea-Level Research, Chichester: Wiley, 2015. Print.
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