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Activity Discussion Environment Pollution Reply To: Pollution

  • Glenda

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    July 1, 2024 at 5:56 pm
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    Mining can have severe negative impacts on land and water through pollution. Some of the key ways mining causes pollution are:<div>

    Water Pollution

    • Acid Mine Drainage (AMD): Sulfides in rocks react with air and water to produce sulfuric acid, which is then carried away by surface drainage or rainwater. AMD is highly toxic and can make water unusable for aquatic life, recreation, drinking, and industry.
    • Heavy Metal Contamination: Metals like arsenic, cobalt, copper, zinc, lead, cadmium, and silver leach out of excavated rock and contaminate water. Heavy metals are toxic to humans and wildlife, especially as they bioaccumulate up the food chain.
    • Processing Chemical Pollution: Chemicals used to extract minerals like cyanide and sulfuric acid can spill, leak, or leach from mine sites into nearby water bodies, poisoning ecosystems.
    • Erosion and Sedimentation: Mining disturbs soil and rock, exposing it to erosion that carries sediment into waterways. Excessive sediment can clog riverbeds, smother aquatic life and vegetation, and alter water flow.

    Land Pollution

    • Deforestation: Clearing land for mining destroys habitats, releases greenhouse gases, and increases erosion.
    • Toxic Tailings: Mining waste often contains dangerous substances like cyanide, mercury, and arsenic that can contaminate soil and groundwater if not properly contained.
    • Landscape Destruction: Open pit mining and mountaintop removal can devastate entire landscapes, leaving behind barren wastelands.

    While modern mining has reduced pollution through better practices and regulations, it remains an ongoing problem, especially in developing countries with illegal artisanal mining operations. Abandoned mines also continue to pollute land and water long after they’ve closed.</div>

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