The natural conditions of land, air and water and everything in them are called environment and they play an important role in the survival of humans and every other animal species in it. In 2005 MEA evaluated the health of Earth’s forests, coastlines, inland waters, shrub lands, dry lands, deserts, agricultural lands, and other ecosystems vital to human health and welfare. The forest provides food, shelter and other needs for many terrestrial animals.
Coastlines having suitable coral sites for extensive breeding of marine lives and mystical mountain rivers provide fresh drinkable water for terrestrial animals and also nurturing soils along its bank for different plant species, micro-organisms and other complex stationary life on earth. This however clearly enlightens us that the environment is vital for the animals including humans for their survival.
However due to changes in time and advancing knowledge, man has gradually degraded the surface of the earth for its unbinding greed and benefits putting to exile the earth’s most innocent dwellers, the terrestrial and marine animals of countless species. It is said that man is the most capable and intelligent species that has the potential whether to build or destroy the world, therefore the massive pollution in the world seen today is done by man. Environmental pollution is the unfavourable alteration of environment from the effects of changes in energy patterns, radiation level; chemical and physical constitution or abundance of organisms.
In this essay it will basically focus on the marine and some terrestrial animals at coastlines that are tremendously being harmed by the industrial developments along the seas of a developing country in the South Pacific, Papua New Guinea (PNG). The Pacific islands have long held a fascination for the rest of the world with visions of sandy beaches, palm trees, clear waters, simple healthy life styles and beautiful robust people. In many islands the reality almost matches the imagination.
However, this situation is changing rapidly as development activities impact on their limited resources and fragile ecosystem. Most countries in the Pacific are still developing and there are many industrialized activities that are being engaged in, that have exploited their terrestrial and marine life tremendously. The building of industrial sites near seas often means clearing huge tracks of mangroves and changing the flow of water in estuaries. This can lead to death of mangroves, increased siltation and offshore alteration of marine ecosystem.
Industries are built near seas probably because their products or goods can easily be transported in or out of the plant site without any further costs on transportations or at times valuable minerals are found under or near the sea. When an industrial plant is prepared for installation, large scales of activities are carried out. Huge hydraulics are used to clear the coast line removing any exposed objects on its way, many mangroves are destroyed during the process. This activity is however catastrophic in the animal world as homes are lost, food sources are destroyed and even many animal lives are deceased.
For example the Inter Oil Napa Napa Refinery is an oil refinery plant established in 2004 near the shores of Port Moresby (PNG). The location of the site there once consisted of forests of mangroves which provided home, shelter, security and food for many species of marine animals and some terrestrial animals. An environmental assessment carried out stated that many fishes from that coastline have eventually run out because there were no mangroves, leading to limited food supply.
Many fishes migrated to other areas while others died or were being eaten by other bigger fishes as there were no shelters to get shield from. Mangroves are fundamentally important in that they offer a habitat or shelter for plants and animals. Small fish use the tangled roots of the mangrove forest as a protection from predators. The incredible richness of the food chains in mangroves support a large number of commercial and recreational fish species for at least a part of their life cycles.
The refinery plant has exploited the very life that has once existed there. The most common permanent dwellers of the mangroves there however were mollusks and crustacean. Mud crabs made their homes there, even though they spawned in the open sea. Other crabs which used the mangrove as a habitat including fiddlers and soldier crabs. Other species of mollusks include mud whelks, periwinkles, oysters and various scallop species lived off the mangrove. All these marine lives were sadly affected as their habitat was destroyed.
There were also reports that some terrestrial animals were also affected that were dependent to the mangrove. The mangroves, together with associated wet lands, were important bird habitats. Both sea birds and terrestrial species were attracted to the area. Terrestrial species fed on the mudflats, and in shallow water surrounded mangrove areas including, pelican and egrets. Environmental scientists have assessed that the removed mangrove forests once provided food, shelter and protection for the many marine and terrestrial animals living in or around that particular area.
Now that the mangroves are gone so are the animals that dwelt in it, this however at some angle has affected the locals who reside near the area. Their diet for fish crab, lobster and other sea foods have been greatly affected as these marine life populations are scattered and diminished. Some industries like mines also affect the marine and terrestrial animals living along the site with their exceeding wastes. Mining in its broadest sense is the process of obtaining useful minerals from the earth’s crust.
Mining development in a developing country can be vital for its sustainable economic development, sufficient income for sustainable living, development of its human resource and etc… However the rural communities of the developing countries depend heavily on nature to sustain their livelihood. Introduction of mining activities in those areas affects the environment in great depth including the animals both on land and in waters living along the plant site. Waste disposal from process plants and sediment runoffs from open cut mines are dumped into rivers and oceans.
Smothering of riverbeds and ocean floors, heavy metal contamination and acid mine drainage are consequences of mine waste disposal into the environment. Toxicity of heavy metals is generally chronic rather than acute, so diseases associated with them are evident only over a long period of time. The dumping of this waste in the river destroys the corals and the marine life; they are contaminated with toxic metal particles and solid rock disposals. An example of a mine near the sea that affects both marine and terrestrial animals is the Lihir Gold Mine in the New Ireland Province (PNG).
The Lihir mine disposes most of its waste rocks in to the ocean about 1 km from the shoreline. Four barges operate 24 hours a day and dump between 1,400 and 4,600 tons of rock per hour (Shearman 2001). Barges operate 24 hours a day to dump waste rock outside the harbor. The prospectus in turn predicts that the main impacts of dumping the rock will be damaging to the coral reefs due to increased turbidity of the water, and the smothering of sea floor benthos. In November 1990, the government in Port Moresby asked that the waste rock from Lihir be backfilled into the mine pit, or be dumped farther ashore.
These requests were turned down by the mine consortium as being too costly (Mining Technology undated). It is undisputed that the waste rock submarine mountains cover a large area of the seafloor. What is disputed is whether these bottom deposits affect the fish that are harvested. Many of the fish that local people catch from the PNG waters are caught in the 100-200 m depth range, and they commonly hunt for food down to depths of 800 m or more. Bottom feeders ingesting contaminants are eaten by surface dwelling species with the effect of transporting pollutants to the surface.
Microorganisms also migrate up and down the water column on a daily basis feeding at a depth of 12-50 m on single celled plants (Shearman 2001). Even if the deposits cannot be seen in the surface water, further down, these sediments can make fish leave the area, change their habits or can affect their breeding behavior. Alternatively, fish may be attracted by the protection from predators that sediment-filled water provides and in turn can be harmed by toxic components in the deposited material.
Research has also shown that fish in sediment-laden water are more susceptible to disease because of the abrasive action of sediments on their skin, and can be harmed by sediments blocking their gill filaments (Pearce 2000). Marine ecosystems in the developing countries are constantly being nagged by the foreign mining industrial companies draining the life out of it. Fishes are killed, coral reefs are destroyed, micro-organisms are being intoxicated and a lot more life in the sea is being affected.
To conclude, the world’s environment is a very important and a precious life source for all form of animal life. The environment provides food shelter and other vital needs for the terrestrial and marine animals including the humans. However humans the most intelligent species on earth are draining the life out of the Mother Nature. Industrial development can be beneficial to a developing country like PNG however wild life there is being polluted by their development process on the site or their waste can be toxic to the environment polluting the near by habitats of affecting the animals.
Industries in the like Napa Napa Oil Refinery and Lihir Gold Mining which were built near the shores of Port Moresby and New Ireland respectively has once been locations of life filled forest of mangroves, providing food, shelter and protection to the marine and some terrestrial animals. However during their plant installation has exploited the habitat, we can conclude from that, that mans’ development activities has caused harm to the environment thus leading to marine life destruction. Even some industries nstalled near sea can destroy the habitat during installation and from the wastes being deposited in to the sea. This has caused great destruction to the coral reefs, contaminating the marine life like fishes and microorganisms. Lihir mine has dumped thousands of tones each waste rocks and other toxic materials in to sea deforming the corals and inflicting diseases to the fishes there. The people there are badly affected as fish harvesting spots are exploited resulting in dinners without protein.