Mining is destructive to the environment as trees and vegetation are cleared and burned for mining. Natural minerals and metals are stripped from the soil. In fact btc is one of the causes for deforestation. When the environment is drastically affected, naturally the people will be affected.
The mining pits dug during land dredging mining remain as stagnant water pools serving as breeding ground for mosquitoes and other water-born insects.People living near such water pool areas have high possibility of getting water-born diseases such as malaria. The gravel, mud, and rocks displaced during river dredging mining disrupt the natural flow of the river. As a result, fish and other aquatic living organisms often die and fishermen find it very difficult to navigate in the obstructed rivers. Sand and gravel mining may sometimes pave way for contaminating the groundwater.
Chemicals used during mining process causes pollution to the environment, animals, and people.The chemicals such as cyanide, mercury, or methyl mercury used to amalgamate the metals and minerals extracted by mining are discharged into rivers, streams, bays, and oceans, thus contaminating the water bodies and the aquatic organisms such as fish living within the water bodies. People who consume such contaminated aquatic organisms are prone to serious health hazards. The contaminated water cannot be used for bathing, drinking, cooking, or washing clothes, thus creating water scarcity problem for people living nearby.
The toxic waste from mine tailings flow into either an abandoned mining pit or adjacent forest in the case of land dredging and pollute the river in the case of river dredging. The people who are exposed to the toxic waste from the tailings suffer health problems. They may suffer from skin rashes, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. Some mining involves the unintentional dispersal of heavy metals, such as lead, into the atmosphere. This can have serious health effects such as mental retardation in children. Asbestos dispersed into the environment during asbestos mining is life threatening for local residents and workers.
People living near mining areas or mining villages are very much disturbed and affected by the impact of mining. Theft, drugs/alcohol, prostitution, rape, cultural degradation and sexual abuse are unfortunately some of the worst problems of people living in mining areas. The poor people who face the health problems of mining cannot afford for a medical treatment, or the people who live in a remote village where a doctor is not accessible remain untreated for their illness.
The mining operators and their families may also face problems. The miners also have life risks when they are working in the mine. The family of small scale miners may suffer from financial and protection problems as the miners leave their family in search of work.
The effect of each proposed mining process on the environmental should be analyzed before granting permission to proceed mining. For example, the mining and use of asbestos are banned in most parts of the world life as asbestos dispersed into the environment is life threatening for people for several years.
Thus deforestation, mineral/metal depletion and chemical pollution due to mining can have unfavorable impact on the environment, aquatic habitats, people, animals, and of course the mining operators . Mining operators must be aware of the impacts of their mining operations, adopt self safety measures and ensure minimum risk to the environment and people.