Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Devastating Risks of Transitioning to ‘Green’ Energy. 23 Million People Exposed to Toxic Waste.

Tens of millions of people — more than live in the entire state of Florida — are now exposed to toxic water runoff from metal mining, a new study has found.

The report lays bare the devastating impacts that can follow a reckless transition to ‘green’ energy, compounding the ecological damage wrought by over 150 years of drilling and mining for fossil fuels.

The researchers found that 23 million people worldwide, as well as 5.72 million in livestock, over 16 million acres of irrigated farmland and over 297,800 miles worth of rivers have been contaminated by mining’s toxic byproducts seeping into the water.

This metal mining includes many so-called ‘rare earth elements’ essential to the manufacture of high-tech electronics, solar cells, wind turbines and all the batteries needed to store sustainable ‘green’ energy (and power electric cars and iPhones).

While the new study focuses on environmental impacts, global metals mining has recently faced shocking lawsuits against major tech firms, including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Tesla, over child slavery in the Congo, where 70 percent of the industry’s cobalt is sourced.

‘Rapid growth in global metal mining is crucial if the world is to make the transition to green energy,’ noted Chris Thomas, a zoologist at the University of Lincoln whose specialty is in spatial ecology and threats to the global water supply.

Thomas led the analysis and modelling work for the new study, which was published today in Science.

Thomas and his colleagues have developed a new database, supported by on-the-ground testing, which now maps the hundreds of square miles’ worth of rivers and floodplains contaminated by these industrial processes across the globe.

The devastation wrought by this contamination, they found, was widespread, affecting approximately 297,800 miles (479,200 km) of river systems total and over 63,000 square-miles (164,000 sq-km) of floodplains worldwide.

But, North America stood out as the most affected, at 123,280 miles of tainted river systems, and approximately 10.7 million acres of polluted floodplains.

But the damage was not much better in South America with 50,766 miles of rivers and over 9.5 million acres of floodplain impacted; nor in Asia with about 37,842 river-miles and about 8.3 million acres of floodplain polluted by metal mining waste.

In terms of potency of local damage, however, the the scientists saved their harshest criticisms for ‘the environmental legacy of historical mining,’ which they said was ‘most problematic in western Europe,’ where long-abandoned old mines have left lasting environmental damage.

‘Much of the estimated global contamination we have mapped is a legacy from the industrial era,’ Thomas said in a press statement. ‘Rightly, modern mining is being encouraged to prioritize environmental sustainability.’

The researchers developed a model to predict the spread of contaminants from all known active and inactive metal mines — plus facilities used to seal off hazardous mining waste — with a focus on pollution from lead, zinc, copper, and arsenic.

These potentially harmful contaminants and industrial byproducts can seep into the local water supply, whether transported downstream where the metals are deposited along river beds and floodplains, or otherwise sinks deep into underground aquifers.

Mark Macklin, director of the university’s Lincoln Centre for Water and Planetary Health, who led the international team behind the new research, said he anticipates the new study’s maps and modelling tools will help prevent future reckless mining.

‘We expect that this will make it easier to mitigate the environmental effects of historical and present mining,’ Macklin said.

‘Our new method for predicting the dispersal of mine waste in river systems provides governments, environmental regulators, the mining industry and local communities with a tool that, for the first time, will enable them to assess the offsite and downstream impacts of mining on ecosystem and human health.’

All told, the researchers identified 159,735 abandoned mines and 22,609 active mines — as well as 11,587 mining waste storage facilities and 257 known cases of failed and leaking storage sites.

The team described the new database in their report as ‘the most comprehensive compilation of metal mine locations to date.’

Concerns over just how bad the ecological impact of metal mining for sustainable technology might be is complicated by the diverse variety of resources involved, which can lead to ‘apples to oranges’ comparisons.

According to the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative, green energy technologies like wind turbines and electric cars often do require many more mined minerals than the present fossil fuels infrastructure.

One electric car, for example, requires six times more metallic and mineral materials than a combustion engine car, MIT’s university team reports.

And a wind power plant requires nine times more of these mined compounds than a traditional gas-fired plant.

  • Champion for FREEDOM says:

    Get Trump and real Republicans back in and DRILL BABY DRILL! Stop these BS Climate change goals and END the new Depr. of CLIMATE CHANGE

    • Auntie Vyris® says:

      OPEN ANWR! Also known as the Arctic National Oil-Drilling Refuge, which is a tiny sliver of dirt in the northeastern-most corner of Alaska. I used to live in AK and I remember all the fuss. Look it up: See how small that piece of land is. TINY. There’s nothing there but dirt.

      Oil companies have been building winter “ice roads” for decades and it’s effect on the environment is minimal. Caribou (AKA “reindeer”) often hang out by the pipelines because they are warm. DRILL IN ANWR.

  • Auntie Vyris® says:

    Those damned windmills are a bird-killing blight on our landscape and an extremely counter-effective way to generate energy. Children mine most of those metals, typically they have no safety gear: Not even gloves and sometimes no shoes.

    Democrats are flipping IDIOTS. If you’re a Democrat or a RINO, you should stop it now.

  • Sue s says:

    So cutting carbon is actually creating more environmental problems then? Isn’t that the greatest of all irony’s.

  • Trending Today


    The disappearance of videotapes of witness interviews conducted by the Democratic-led House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack has alarmed the chairman of...


    Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was once again hounded by pro-Palestinian students at Columbia University on Wednesday. Clinton is a professor of international...


    Florida Governor Ron DeSantis whipped out a map during his debate with California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday night showing all the public places...


    Newly announced tournament director and Aussie tennis legend Alicia Molik leaped into action, saving a young tennis player who had collapsed. The incident occurred...