One of the growing concerns right now is the increasingly worsening condition of our environment.
One natural resource that is in high demand is metal. The increasing need for this element has made companies extract more to meet the demand.
If they continue to this way, we will soon deplete this natural resource.
Environmental Impact of Metal Extraction
When metal is extracted from the ground, it creates a lot of negative impact to the environment.
Look at what’s happening in Brazil, the country that’s fast becoming the world’s primary supplier of gold. It is estimated that more than 2,000 tonnes of mercury have been released into the environment as a result of the modern Brazilian gold rush.
What people don’t know is that mercury is needed in the extraction of gold.
Now, an abundance of mercury in the soil and water has led to an increased mercury level in fish, which is very toxic not only to animals but to humans as well.
The same is said of metal extraction.
Metal extraction can drastically affect air quality in the surrounding areas, what with the high levels of dust and gas in the area.
There’s also the noise pollution that it creates, which is affecting the natural habitat of animals.
Last, metal extraction disfigures the landscape.
Now, if companies continually extract metal, the land will forever be disfigured, causing flooding and soil erosion in the area. It will also cause large-scale natural habitat destruction, causing many species to be uprooted.
There’s also the air and water pollution to consider.
Economic Impact of Metal Extraction
It is a fact that mining, extracting, refining, and purifying metal will cost a lot of money.
There are different types of metal, and they need different methods of extraction.
Now, the methods of extracting metal do not come cheap, nor does refining and purifying metal.
Not only will you need special equipment for their extraction, but you will also need other elements as well such as copper, zinc, mercury, among others, for the purification and refinement processes.
Some of these elements are very harmful and toxic not only to humans and animals but to nature as well, worsening the environmental impact of metal extraction.
Aside from this, you also have to think of the transportation costs of extracted metal, and the associated environmental impacts of transport.
Then there’s also the production and manufacture costs of turning metal into different parts and pieces.
Social Impact of Metal Extraction
Communities that thrive near quarries and mining sites suffer from noise, air, land, and even water pollution.
In the long run, and most especially if the company’s not following safety and security protocols, it will pose detrimental and hazardous risks to the health of the people living in the community.
Yes, there are added jobs and increased salaries for the people as well as increased revenue to the community, but is it worth it to sacrifice their health?
To reduce all these negative impacts, people are being urged to recycle metal.
Not only will this keep production costs down since there’s no longer the need to refine and purify them, but this also prevents land devastation and natural habitat loss. In the end, it will be healthier for all.
Manufacturers, too, are now more aware of the negative impact of metal extraction. To help the environment, they make use of recycled metal in their products, good examples of which are metal carports, steel cabinets, metal garage, and more.
Through their efforts, the negative impacts of metal extraction are being reduced.
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This article was originally published in 2012, it has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.