The Impact of Mining Waste Disposal on the Environment

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With an increasing global demand for metals, mining corporations have to scale up their mining operations in order to meet that demand at the expense of the environment. The enormous demand originates from mining’s essential role in society to produce various products designed to benefit the populace. These products range from small handheld devices that aid in everyday life or large machines that supported the foundation of society. However, mining leads to a variety of byproducts that affect the environment, for better or for worse. These byproducts are often composed of chemicals and metals not seen in nature. Some chemicals do not pose any significant threat to the environment, while others are toxic to animals and plants and can take years to clean up.
Addressing the issue of regulating mining waste disposal is imperative due to the potential damage mining waste can cause to the environment. Mining waste are composed of undesirable heavy metals as well as solvents and compounds used to extract ores chemically. These chemicals are often not natural to the environment and can cause significant damage to various parts of the body. For example, the metals present in mining waste, such as arsenic, manganese, lead, and cadmium, have been shown to alter dopamine release in rats. The study, published in 1998, demonstrated that “rats exposed to mining waste released more dopamine, less DOPAC, and less HVA by about 15, 50, and 55 pentagram per microliter, respectively, compared to rats not exposed to mining waste when release [of dopamine] is stimulated” (Rodriguez, 489). It is important to notice that these metals only compose a fraction of mining wastes, and that mining industries produce more waste than what is exposed to the ...

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