Topic -Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
7) What are the benefits of deep sea mining and what are the potential harms it can inflict on the society and the environment. Discuss.(250 words)
Why this question
Oceans hold the new resource frontier in the form of polymetallic nodules which contain elements vital for the digital societies. In this context it is important to analyze the pros and cons of deep seabed mining, which is gaining increasing popularity across the world, including India.
Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.
Key demand of the question.
The question wants us to write in detail about the pros/ need of deep seabed mining and also the cons in terms of its effects on environment and coastal communities.
Structure of the answer
Introduction– Write a few introductory lines about the UNCLOS and ISA and its relation to seabed mining. E.g under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), any country or deep sea mining company that wishes to exploit the seabed needs an exploration contract from the International Seabed Authority (ISA).
- Discuss the pros/ benefits/ necessity of pursuing seabed mining. E.g Hailed as a ‘new resource frontier’, the deep seabed is home to a variety of valuable minerals and metals, which lie hidden in underwater ridges, seamounts and sediment; polymetallic nodules comprising copper, nickel, cobalt, manganese, iron and rare earth elements are key to making modern gadgets, from smartphones and laptops to pacemakers, hybrid cars and solar panels; “These metals are not widely available in India, so they have strategic importance, as well; Sediment kicked up by underwater mining would dissolve and resettle, and there would be no carbon emissions, unlike on land; There would be no need to build roads, infrastructure or relocate communities etc.
- Discuss the cons. E.g Mining for nodule resources on the seafloor is likely to be highly destructive in the mined area, with long-lasting impacts; Sediment plumes and disturbance caused by mining could wipe out habitats for slow-growing corals and fish; It could also have long-term effects on how the ocean, which absorbs carbon dioxide and heat, regulates the world’s climate; Aside from the impact on aquatic ecosystems, these issues could also have serious consequences for the livelihoods and well-being of coastal communities; mining exposes sea life to metallic and acidic substances, which introduce toxic particles to underwater food chains. Deep sea trawling has already shown that the destruction of oceanic topography takes a big toll on fish, particularly slow-breeding species such as redfish and orange roughy. Aside from the impact on aquatic ecosystems, these issues could also have serious consequences for the livelihoods and well-being of coastal communities etc.
Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.