Tags: Art And Craft Of Problem SolvingRole Models College EssaysCalifornia Math Homework And Problem SolvingKennedy School Government Application EssaysShort Essay Of Mother TeresaResearch Paper Child Day Care
The simple solution to all our environmental woes, or a feel-good waste of time and money?Delving into the impacts of metal mining, we can easily come up with problem after problem. The simplest rebuttal to anti-mining is "we need metal, therefore we need mines… The continual creation of new mines is polluting in the short term, and unsustainable in the long term.In addition to the large energy and direct water usages associated with the production of aluminum, there are significant problems with mining pollution (primarily air emissions and solid waste), transport pollution, and environmental impacts of massive hydroelectric projects.
Metals are a finite resource, and whether or not we care about the impact of mining, extraction cannot continue indefinitely.
However, metals are nearly ubiquitous in day to day life, and an important component of all sorts of products.
In addition, 100% of the aluminum from discarded cans and other objects can theoretically be recycled since none of the metal is lost in the process.
It’s relatively simple to recycle since it simply needs to be melted down and then formed into new shapes.
Even in the case of aluminum, for which there are clear economic and environmental benefits to recycling, the recycling rate is only around 50% due to a combination of sociological, and logistical factors.
Aluminum is a common metal with a relatively low value (00/metric ton in July 2010).Melted down metal from a discarded piece of junk is chemically identical to newly-refined metal from a mine.Even though it is possible to recycle the majority of the metal we use, only about half of the base metal supply came from recycled sources in 2007, the most recent year surveyed.Even lower post-consumer recycling percentages are found in industries such as construction and car manufacture.Only 45% of the aluminum supply in 2007 came from recycled sources, leaving almost 5 million metric tons of new aluminum to be mined to fill the demand, with the associated environmental impacts.Common problems include acid mine drainage and the use of toxic chemicals, such as cyanide.The supply chain, from ore in the ground to finished product, also usually requires large amounts of energy and produces significant greenhouse gas emissions.Not only is this problematic from an environmental perspective, but the market value of scrap from wasted aluminum cans alone in the year 2000 was 0 million!So much aluminum is found in landfills that the concentration is actually higher than in the starting ore, and some people argue we should be mining the landfills themselves.Mining and mineral processing enrich those who control the sources of mineral wealth.How can we minimize negative consequences without going back to the Stone Age?