Once people discover an area where they can extract materials such as granite, slate, marble, limestone, and sandstone, the area often becomes a quarry. The quarry becomes a permanent place in the community, attracting daily quarrying activities. Much as it may help people, it also causes significant impacts to the environment. Below are the negative effects of a quarry.
Disfigures the Environment
Quarrying involves the production of waste materials. Although some quarries do not produce a large amount of waste, others produce significant waste materials that damage the environment. The wastes can damage water bodies around the area, causing water contamination, whereas the large amounts of solids exacerbate flooding when dumped on flood plains.
Additionally, there is a high risk of soil erosion, even when the area is managed properly. It renders the entire environment ineffective for any other major projects that could benefit those living within the areas, such as farming, among other essential activities.
The damage to biodiversity is one of the major negative impacts of quarrying within the environment. Species such as insects, fish, birds, animals, micro-organisms, reptiles, and invertebrates depend on nature to survive. Before quarrying, people need to clear off trees and the habitats around the area, and this means that the activity destroys the animal’s habitat, making it hard for them to survive.
The habitats can be affected indirectly, and damages within the environmental changes can cause pollution of the surface water or groundwater, causing the place to dry out or become flooded. Lastly, the disposal and treatment of waste by-products produced can cause more negative impacts within the environment. The wastes can affect both ground surfaces, making it hard for people and animals to survive.
Leaving in a noisy place can a big distraction. Unfortunately, quarrying produces a lot of noise due to drilling, making the environment unbearable.
Putting down proper routes within the mine to create a way for rail tracks is also a major cause of noise pollution. The movement of tracks and excavators also creates a major ear sore to those living around the area.
Sometimes, there could be a need to rig a rock with explosives to extract the required materials, causing noise pollution. There is also a need to expose minerals to be extracted by removing the topsoil and other soft layers using quarrying buckets, dump trucks, and a scrapper. The process may also produce considerable noise, especially when using blasting methods.
Additionally, using powered machines to transport the materials and processing plants to crush and grade minerals equally contributes to noise within the environment.
Dust produced during quarrying is a major contributor to air pollution. However, it depends on the size of dust particles and their chemical impact, the particles’ concentration in the air, and the local microclimatic conditions. For instance, some quarries produce clouds of dust with high amounts of reactive alkaline, while others produce acidic dust.
When this happens, the people and animals living within the environment get exposed to a high risk of breathing problems and other related health issues. This is, in particular, for those with respiratory problems and underlying health issues.
Dust can also harm the surrounding plants. It can block and damage the internal structures of the plants and abrasion of leaves and cuticles. Additionally, the dust can have chemical substances that may affect long-term survival.
Negative Impact on Health
Health is a crucial factor when it comes to quarrying. When people inhale dust and the polluted air caused by chemicals, it becomes a serious risk to their health. This can cause pneumoconiosis and silicosis.
It’s also likely that locals will experience changes in sleep patterns and increased stress levels, causing unpredictable health challenges. The dust can also negatively affect fauna and flora within the environment, resulting in long-standing consequences.
Difficult Road Patterns
Areas that practice quarrying often experience challenges with the infrastructure since the quarry activities can destroy road patterns, causing more congestion and traffic on the roads, especially within small communities.
The Bottom Line
Quarrying can harm the environment, although many of the negative effects can be controlled or managed. Taking care of the environment can help us benefit from what it provides, meaning, we need to protect everything within the environment to maximize its benefits.
Eric Reyes is a passionate thought leader having been featured in 50 distinguished online and offline platforms. His passion and knowledge in Finance and Business made him a sought-after contributor providing valuable insights to his readers. You can find him reading a book and discussing current events in his spare time.