Ngative Effects of Diamond Mining
At all times, gemstones have preserved the appeal for humans because of their rarity. In the ancient times, they were thought to possess magical, mystical powers. Today, they attract people with their beauty, the joy from the admiration of the unusual transparency of the crystals and the splendor of their colors. However, their production may hide dangers for not only nature but also for people. Therefore, people should stop buying diamonds, the demand for which leads to the negative impacts on humans and the environment.
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It is not easy to mine the diamonds, and their formation takes millions of years. The production of diamonds takes place all over the world, but the largest production centers are located in Russia and South Africa. There are also deposits of diamonds in Australia, Botswana, Congo, Angola, and Canada. In these countries, there are the largest deposits. Diamonds are commercially mined in quarries. The explosives are used for their production. The rock, which is extracted after the explosion, is loaded on a truck and transported to a special factory, where the diamonds can be further extracted. When the quarry reaches a certain depth, diamond reserves become depleted. However, in nature, the reserves of diamonds are exhaustible. The vivid examples are some countries, such as India, where diamonds are not extracted.
Diamonds Production Causes Great Harm to Nature
In the process of extraction of ore, the inflow of water from the aquifers increases. This water (underground brine) contains toxic elements (hydrogen sulfide), contaminating air swimming pool. To avoid environmental problems, the disposal of brine is carried out underground in a manner that affects the geological environment. Now, the degree of contamination of rocks cannot be determined. At enriching rocks, industrial effluents are formed. After local clearing and sludge, they fall into reservoirs, where water does not meet safety standards. As a result, mechanical and chemical effects of soil in intensive diamond mining areas are degraded, and they accumulate lead, zinc, nickel, chromium, arsenic and other trace elements. Water pollution and water abuse adduce to many health problems. The mining industry uses huge amounts of water and produces large amounts of waste, polluting water sources and the people who depend on them. Surface and ground waters in the mining areas can stay contaminated for many years. Water losses can leave the land barren and unfit for agriculture or breeding animals. Long-term damage from water pollution will last much longer than the short-term economic benefits from mining. Land and soil are destroyed, leading to food shortages and hunger. Air pollution from power plants and steel mills, which are built near the mines, causes severe disease. Therefore, diamond production leads to the negative effects on the environment.
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Diamonds and Conflicts
It is unethical to buy diamonds that are produced by value of blood. Diamonds became the cause of many misfortunes, bloody intrigues, and crimes. Diamonds are considered not the most expensive precious stones, but it is strenuous to resist their brilliance. The hunters for diamonds knew no mercy for the sake of achieving the goal. Today, although the humanity has become more civilized, diamonds do not cease to haunt the minds of many people. The problem of diamonds mined at the illegal artisanal workings and then trafficked by a contraband market has been characteristic of the diamond industry from the moment of its inception to the present day. This is explained by the fact that the diamond is a perfect object for smuggling because of its high cost. Trafficking is contributed by the fact that the organization of legitimate diamond trade is substantially similar to the illegal one. It is always surrounded by a veil of secrecy, conducted a small circle of trusted individuals, and it involves only cash paying. Diamonds lead to violence and humans’ deaths.
In the last decade, illegal diamonds have been widely used for the financing of bloody civil wars and ethnic conflicts in Africa as well as the activities of various terrorist groups. Derby (2008) states that “conflict diamonds involve abuse, corruption and death.” The revenues from the sale of diamonds that are supplied to the market by illegitimate groups in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, and Liberia are used to finance conflicts in those countries (Derby, 2008). Largely, under the influence of these issues, society should realize that diamonds contribute to the formation of ‘black’ market.
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Blood Diamonds: Conflict Diamonds in Africa
The objects of attention of human rights organizations are not only the ‘conflict’ diamonds but also other problems that include the use of child labor; extremely low wages of local workers and their intensive exploitation, not comfortable working conditions dangerous to life and health, etc. The entire mining industry is precarious. It is difficult for the miners to earn money along with protecting their health and the environment. Dust, chemical discharges, noxious fumes, heavy metals, and radiation can poison workers and cause life-long health problems (“Protecting the environment during armed conflict”, 2009). Lifting weights and working in awkward positions can result to injuring one’s hands, legs, and back. The use of jackhammers or other vibrating machines can damage nerves and blood circulation and lead to a loss of sensitivity, very dangerous infections, such as gangrene, and even death. Thus, diamond production has a negative effect on human’s health.
Diamonds Aren’t a Girl’s Best Friends
A number of researchers emphasize on the adverse effects of diamond mining on social life. Thus, Briggs (2003) claims that “diamonds lead to human suffering.” Mining towns and camps develop quickly, without much planning or concerns. Usually, this causes many problems. Men come looking for work in the mines, and the women, who need income, become prostitutes; this combination can lead to the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (Johnson, 2002). The sudden wealth and the sudden poverty that diamond industry brings are accompanied by the amplified violence against women and children, mistreatment of workers by the owners, and the struggle for controlling resources (Briggs, 2003). The production of diamonds provides means of subsistence for millions of people in the areas, where there are few other sources of income. However, the richness of the earth does not always lead to the wealth for the miners. The diamond mining consists in exploiting every part of the land and every available worker, sacrificing health, human rights and the environment (“Protecting the environment during armed conflict”, 2009). Children often work in the mining industry to help their families. Armstrong (2012) emphasizes that thousands of children “are used as slaves to extract diamonds.” Hours of work in difficult conditions are dangerous for them, which creates a serious problem for the growth of bones and it does not leave time for them at school.
The nature conservation is a problem of this century, but this issue has also become social. Human impact has taken alarming proportions on the environment. New connections that are created by man must be closed to ensure the immutability of the fundamental parameters of the Earth’s system that affect its environmental stability. People should rethink the value of diamonds as their mining harms the environment. Moreover, the production of diamonds, the formation of which takes millions of years, can include quite unsafe work conditions. Therefore, diamond mining brings great harm and constitutes a threat not only to human life but also to the environment. The humanity cannot leave the related problems unnoticed. It is important to stop buying diamonds, paying for nature destroying, human suffering, and deaths.