Mountaintop Removal Mining (MTR) is a coal extraction process, yet it has adverse effects on human health. Explosives are used to remove mountaintops and expose underlying seams of coal. Because of its distinct negative impacts on environment and subsequently health risks, concerned people staged protests in Kentucky.
Forests clearing before mining and scrapping of the topsoil destroy life forms. Destruction of wildlife and loss of vegetation indicates environmental degradation. The loss of vegetation causes landslides. Dumping of wastes from the mining sites fills the valleys. To the local communities, mining pollutes and pushes away the traditional mining communities, therefore, losing their economic activity and culture.
After mining, different pollutants flow from the mountains. The wastes from mining sites contain carcinogenic chemicals used for washing coal for market. Coal products also contain heavy metals compounds, which are health risk. The biologically diverse organisms in the streams and rivers choke with blackwater spills too, including economically beneficial fish as indicated by Wendell Berry in his speech on “I Love Mountains Day”.
It is commendable that when people noticed effects of mountaintop mining, they indulged in non-violent ways of resolving conflict. According to the fourteen sit-in protesters at the Governor Beshear, the government was becoming too economically greedy and politically driven to allow MTR in sacrifice of the lives and livelihoods of people. In addition, activists from different spheres of lives noticed that life-protection was significant. Their call for consultative, public dialogue into the stoppage of mountaintop mining and economic effects of the miners, as well as mountain communities adversely affected by MTR, is encouraging.
In conclusion, the Mountaintop Removal Mining protests, which attracted many people, were genuine. It is the responsibility of the government to utilize resources in a way that does not jeopardize the lives of the citizens or any life form in the ecosystem. Alternatively, with the growing concern of pollution it is imperative to adopt green energy resources.
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