Pianeta Terra: la nostra amorevole dimora

Industrial Mining: Damaging Effects on the Planet and Our Health Part 3 of 3



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In 2019, a team of scientists did a heavy metal analysis of soil and plant samples around the Murgul copper mine in eastern Turkey. The team studied the presence of trace elements such as copper, zinc, and cadmium in soils and plants. The results showed high concentrations of toxicity for most of the trace metal ions. In 2020, research showed that the release of toxic materials in Arizona had “soared” due to waste from both copper mines and the smelting of copper.

The rare-earth elements (REE) are 17 silvery-white soft heavy metals that play a major role in making essential components for smart phones, computers, and many other electronic devices. However, the mining of REE can cause problems for the environment and for human health due to the large amounts of toxic and radioactive materials that result from the co-extraction of the radioactive metals thorium and uranium.

In July 2019, an article published by the Yale School of the Environment at Yale University, USA, described how the removal of REE from the Earth’s crust, using a mix of water and chemicals, caused extensive water and soil pollution at a former mining site in Longnan County, Jiangxi Province, China. Dr. Günther Hilpert, Head of the Asia Research Division of SWP, further explains that extracting just one ton of rare earth elements produces 2,000 tons of toxic waste, and the process has devastated large regions of China. Ma Jun, a leading Chinese environmentalist and Director of China’s Institute for Public and Environmental Affairs, said in a phone interview, “To us as an environmental group, we hope that the environmental damage can stop and that these external (pollution costs) could be internalized in the cost of products.”

Our beloved Supreme Master Ching Hai reminds us not to harm the environment and not to use up our precious Earth’s natural resources. “Every country should help each other to develop more sustainable energy for our shared planet as well as to protect the health of the people and the animals. We just cannot burn away or use up all our precious natural resources, and in the process harm our environment. We must adopt sustainable, green, frugal lifestyles which will support all life on the planet.”

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