5 Major consequences of coal mining

Coal is still the most prevalent energy source in the entire world and the United States is not an exception. Almost 91 percent of the country’s electricity is generated in coal-burning plants.

Still, coal mining is a nefarious activity for the environment and for the human health. In fact, the industry is responsible for one-third of all carbon emissions registered in the United States. Here is a short list of the five worst consequences of coal mining.

1. Water pollution

Fishery_Biologists_at_Work._-_geograph.org.uk_-_430113 Wikimedia

Water polluted by coal mining takes on toxic levels of heavy metals and minerals. According to GreenPeace, “toxic water leaks out of abandoned mines to contaminate groundwater, streams, soil, plants, animals and humans”.

2. Mountaintop removal

800px-Mountain_top_removal_strip_mining_causes_damage_to_hillside Wikimedia

This technique, also known as strip mining, involves the destruction of mountain ranges to access buried coal reserves.

3. Biodiversity loss

Wikimedia Wikimedia

When companies decide to develop a mine site, the first step is to clear the area of plants and trees to ….Read more

Illegal mercury used in small-scale gold mining damages Indonesian lands

Puncak area, West Java Wikimedia Puncak area, West Java

Many developed nations hope 2014 can finally be the year when a real fight against the use of mercury in gold mining across the world starts. However, until then, several countries like Indonesia will continue to suffer the consequences of this and other dangerous techniques.

The small-scale, and many times illegal, gold mining operations spread across the country are responsible for the contamination of the local soil, water and air. They are equally responsible for the damages inflicted to the health of the miners, some of them very young children without any other choice.

The New York Times recently told the world how these small and apparently harmless operations run in Indonesia. They used the example of a young 15-year-old worker named David Mario Chandra to kick-off their story, saying how gold mining is changing the face of places like the remote mountains of West Java.

A workshop next to his family’s house in Cisitu, in Banten Province, contains machinery that turns gold ore into usable nuggets. The procedure seems simple enough: The crushed ore ….Read more

Goa inhabitants still getting used to less polluted environment after mining ban

Goa Photo: Jayesh Phatarpekar Goa
Photo: Jayesh Phatarpekar

The people living in the Indian state of Goa have now started adjusting their lives to a less polluted environment, but it’s not easy.

According to a survey conducted by Goa’s EIA Resource and Response Center, quoted by The Times of India, the inhabitants of the mining-affected areas are still adjusting themselves to a new social and economic order. Apparently, learning how to enjoy the less polluted environment in places such as Bicholim or Quepem takes time.

List of mining-affected areas covered by the survey:
  • Bicholim
  • Amona
  • Mayem
  • Mulgao
  • Naveli
  • Pilgao
  • Sanquelim
  • Shirgao
  • Surla
  • Dharbandora
  • Mollem Mine excavation sites
  • Nanus and Usgao
  • Quepem
  • Rivona
  • Sonar Bhat
  • Tilamol
  • Zambaulim

Goa’s mining operations have been under direct supervision of the state’s government and were initially suspended in September of 2012 after a Commission Report presented by Justice M. B Shah was accepted by the Parliament. According to the study, at the time any further mining operation done without any scientific research could seriously impair Goa’s natural resources and environment.

Now, Goa’s environmental condition is recovering. The ban on mining has boosted several changes in the social and environmental sphere.

Signatories of the Minamata Convention [infographic]

A document that means “the beginning of the end of mercury as a threat to human health and the environment”. These were the words chosen by the executive director of the UN Environment Programme, Achim Steiner, to describe the Minamata Convention, recently signed by more than 90 countries.

These nations vowed to ban several mercury products until 2020 and are planning the best way to forbid the mining of fresh mercury and mercury emissions from new power plants, measures that must be applied within 15 years of the treaty coming into effect. Besides, the signatories will also have to eradicate or transform artisanal and small-scale gold mining operations that use mercury.

Overall, it’s an extremely important document for the future of the planet and that is why today we bring you this infographic that gathers all the signatories of the convention for you to see.


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