Mining is an important way of extracting minerals and metals from the earth and it is the source of all those substances that cannot be produced through agricultural and industrial process. It is really of great economic importance but also has a great negative impact on the environment.
In nutshell mining affects our surroundings in all possible ways. It affects the plant, soil, water, air and everything around us. The effect of this extraction on our environment is a pressing problem which needs to be handled in a very sensitive way.
Effects of Mining on Environment
Mining involves blasting, clearing of land and many more complicated processes and at time during all these processes the harmful elements like mercury escapes into the environment making it risky for the living beings. Below given are some more impacts of mining:
While clearing the land there is a huge loss of forest area which results in deforestation. Not only the areas where mines are located are cleared but also the adjoining areas are cleared to construct roads and facilitate the mine workers. This in turn harms the environment. Moreover the dust and gas released during mining results in pollution.
Loss of Biodiversity
These lands are basically the home to many organisms. The clearing results in loss of habitat and put the life of the animals at stake. Deforestation is definitely a threat to the animals that are dependent on the plants and trees. It is a fact that each and everyone in the ecosystem are dependent on each other. So the loss of a tree has a direct effect on the existence of other life.
Although precautions are maintained to release the chemicals at safe locations, but it in turn harms the nearby sources of water and land. These harmful wastes make the water and land completely unsuitable for the living world. Chemicals like cyanide, sulphuric acid, mercury, arsenic, etc. are used during mining and these in turn either percolates into the land, get mixed in water or gets into the atmosphere causing all kinds of pollution.
Danger to Aquatic Life
The toxic chemicals which are discharged in water are very dangerous for the flora and fauna and destroy the balance. Moreover large quantity of water is used for cleaning the impurities resulting in reduced water level in that area. Thus the aquatic organisms find it difficult to survive in less water levels.
Disturbs the Ecosystem
Mining is basically based on fossil fuels which are non-renewable for generating energy for its operations. Moreover, it disrupts the terrestrial, aquatic and the wetland because of the release of particulates which directly or indirectly disturbs the life of the region.
The poisonous chemical when come in contact with humans can cause skin rashes and even cancer. To make it worse, drinking of the polluted water, which contains lead, can cause birth defects. The liquid wastes of the mining process are disposed in a pit which becomes a ground for breeding mosquitoes leading to various diseases.
It is very obvious that not only the nearby areas of mining are affected, but even the environment miles away from the site are equally affected.