Mining Activities: Implications on Loss of Green Areas and global warming

Dr Angela Akanwa, Oyilieze






Vegetation and green areas are homes to diverse plant species that play ecological roles in protecting the environment particularly as carbon sinks (Ifeanyi-obi, 2016). Intense human activities like mining have become a threat to sustainable green areas in most developing countries. The nature of mining operations involves aggregate extraction from the earth crust which tends to make notable impact on the vegetation, environment, landscape and biological communities (Akanwa et al. 2017). Usually prior to mining actions, deforestation takes place by clearing all vegetation and the landscape is drastically altered and the ecosystem is totally disrupted.
Deforestation, covers the loss of wild forest habitats due to extreme human activities and this has grown into a global problem as demand for vegetation has increased as well. This demand covers grazing, agriculture, medicinal purposes, mining among others keep rising. Shrinking vegetation can cause wide-reaching problems, including soil erosion, water cycle disruption, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity losses, rising temperature and global warming (Olagunju, et al. 2021).
It represents a major perturbation to the natural landscape, creating significant impacts on the soil, vegetation, fauna and habitat loss. Nigeria falls within the rainforest\savannah vegetation. It is used to be heavily forested with humid tropical conditions that favour tree growth. However, industrial activities like stone/sand mining have been active in many parts of the country. Most surface mining actions carried out around the nation are large scaled, involving removal of massive volumes of material, including overburden, to extract the treasured deposit. Large amounts of waste are produced in the process as well. As the plants and trees are cleared it leaves open spaces in the ground. These deep holes change the form of the landscape and they are usually left bare, inviting erosion forces to further destroy the land surface. Soil erosion around and on the site can cause loss of vegetation and hinder plant colonization leading to a range of negative environmental impacts incurred in the process of excavating the hidden rocks or sands.
The abundance of green life is what aids the process of photosynthesis, trees and other plants remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, convert it into sugar molecules, and release oxygen for human population to stay alive. Unregulated deforestation and other industrial activities have led to global increase in greenhouse gas especially carbon dioxide, have contributed to global warming (Sylla et al. 2016). Forests serve as carbon sinks to erase atmospheric CO2 thereby minimizing temperature ris, global warming and climate change impacts. Similarly, excessive removal of trees causes captured and stored CO2 to be sent back into the atmosphere triggering climate change problems. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that deforestation practices and other natural forms of tree loss is responsible for the release of 17 percent of the CO2 into the atmosphere.
Furthermore, deforestation this consequently leads to total ecological destabilization, elimination of the aesthetic values and decrease in the recreational and ecological potential of the landscape. These activities have left their negative imprints on the landscape of various developing countries and this is clearly an issue that would need to be firmly addressed. There is need for rapid enforcement of policies, climate awareness in developing countries, sensitization on deforestation and protection of green areas, intensified research studies, tree planting exercise, youth, religious and non-governmental groups should also be part of this reformation exercise.


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