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Effects Of Mining On Ecosystems Essay

957 words - 4 pages

Mining has affected the ecosystems of our environments, both negatively and positively.
Some of the positive reasons include mining for fossil fuels such as coals, or even for gems and gold has always been about money. Coal mining provides jobs that are steady, and there are many safe practices companies can follow to protect the safety and health of the environment.
Their choice to do so must be encouraged as if it were one tree in this particular forest that everyone around the world would feel the effects of if it were allowed to fall. It is past time to put the efficiency back into mining coal and other fuel sources in terms of energy efficiency.
However, there are many more negative effects caused by mining on the environment than there are positive effects. Some of these include deforestation, which in turn destroys wildlife habitats. As land is cleared and low bushes and vegetation are destroyed, wildlife is either forced to move on and find a new home, or it dies. It also affects the nesting habits and migratory patterns of birds, as well as the pollination of flowers and edible plant life. With this, the process of turning CO2 into oxygen cannot have an effect.
In any ecosystem, life is dependent on the whole sum of its parts. Whenever a tree falls within a forest, it is immaterial if someone hears it or not. What is important is that its loss can have an immediate, profound, and visible effect on the survival of life in, around and near it.
Mining also reconfigures land and its contours. Rain and subsequent ground water is diverted. Chemicals such as cyanide, mercury, methyl-mercury and arsenic are forced through pipes, or tailings, and the water that runs off goes into streams, creeks, rivers and lakes. This affects the growth of vegetation. Fish, and any other wildlife that depends on these waters is then subject to being poisoned, and breeding grounds are destroyed between chemical poisoning and the diversion of the natural flow of clean water.
The amount of coal burned in the U.S. to produce electricity produces 130 million tonnes of waste and coal ash. The coal ash as a by-product contains the same heavy chemicals as the pipes/tailings mentioned above- mercury, arsenic, and even lead are present in highly toxic amounts. Generally gotten rid of by being disposed in lined, prepared beds, coal ash is said to be safe. However, coal ash is not usually disposed of properly and is dumped in rivers and ponds, leading to even further environmental problems. (Menter, n.d.)

However, science can be applied to reduce the impact mining has on the environment. For example, by reducing the consumption of minerals used. Mining produces materials used in manufacturing all kinds of products, from consumer goods to fertilizers to energy supplies. One way to limit the impact of mining on the environment is to consume less,...

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