When various minerals, metals and other objects are tapped from the earth’s surface and below the surface of the Earth, it is known as mining. Most of the metals like copper, silver, gold, manganese; iron ore are being taken out of the Earth by this process. Fossil fuels like coal are also extracted in this method. Mining is very important for the human civilization as this is the only way to get various minerals and metals. It is also profitable for companies as well. As mining becomes rampant, many mines are also been closed down due to over extraction.
Mining affects the environment in several ways. Along with depletion of natural resources, it can cause pollution, cause deforestation and harm to wildlife. It can also have sustainable bad effects on the environment for future generations too.
The Result on terrain
The terrain around the mines is the worst hit. The effect of mining can be classified in two different categories. The first category is the loss of forests, and the other is the loss of animal and plant life.
As the miners dig the earth’s surface and extract the minerals and the metals, vast tracts of land are denuded and dug up. Forests are cleared, and this leads to massive deforestation. Moreover, settlements are created and facilities need to be provided for the miners around the mine area. This also leads to further depletion of natural resources such as water and forests.
Several species of birds, animals and insects are losing their habitats as deforestation is carried out. It has been estimated that countless hundred species of plant and animals have been lost due to mining. This also destroys the rich bio diversity or the ecological balance of the earth. Several species have become extinct, and this is a loss for us.
The Result on aquatic life
The water life is also facing a threat due to mining. Several toxins like mercury, sulfuric acid, methyl, arsenics, etc. are required in many phases of mining for cleaning the extracted metals. These toxins are discharged in open wells or rivers. In many cases, the discharge of effluents is done after treatment. In many cases, the effluents are discharged without adequate treatment. When this happens, the toxins pollute the surface water and also the groundwater. The water ecosystem is being polluted by this process. Several water plants and animals are becoming extinct.
The dredging of river is a technique for gold mining. In this procedure, the river mud and the gravel of the river (a particular area) are dredged. The gold particles are sieved, and the rest of the mud and gravel is disposed off at another location. This disrupts the natural flow of water and can also reduce the water flow. This affects the marine life in the river.
The overall pollution caused by the mining is enormous. The water and the soil are the main affected part. The pollution of the water and the soil around the mining area causes the imbalance in the eco-system of that particular area. The huge machines that assist in the mining procedure also cause air pollution as the burning of fossil fuels releases toxic gases in the air.