chemistry-environmentNo Comments

Answer.

Different measures are taken to check the environmental degradation (problems) caused by mining activities. The following are some remedy measures taken to prevent such environmental destructions:

(a) Governments are getting ever tougher with mining companies about damage to the environment. Sadly, in developing countries like Tanzania where much mining takes place, laws may be less strict.

(b) Stern controls apply to the production of wastes that may be toxic or may cause environmental damage. Safety regulations and practices must be maintained to avoid the risk of accidental release of harmful materials.

(c) Mine reclamation activities are undertaken gradually with the levelling of the heaps of earth material, replacement of the top soil with a fertile one and planting of trees in the mined out areas. Care must be taken to relocate streams, wildlife and other valuable resources. Quarries and opencast workings can be reclaimed by the process of filling the holes with solid wastes. The eroded bare soil can be conserved by planting trees and grasses to serve as a soil cover, which would counteract the impacts of wind, running water, rain and animals to the soil.Reclaimed land can have many uses such as agriculture, forestry, wildlife, habitation and recreation.

(d) Dust levels can be controlled by spraying water on roads, stockpiles and conveyors. Other steps can also be taken including filling of drills with dust collection systems, and purchasing additional land surrounding the mine to act as a buffer zone. Trees planted in these buffer zones can also minimize the visual impact of dust, from the mining operations, to local communities.

(e) The poisonous and toxic substances used in metal extraction must be treated properly before being directed into rivers and streams. Alternatively, these materials may be drained into reservoirs where they can gradually percolate deep into the soil and evaporate into the air without causing much harm to the surrounding ecosystems. In some mines, absorbent carpets are spread on the surface of the ground to trap the toxic substances contained in liquid chemicals used for mining, hence preventing these chemicals from finding their way to water bodies.

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