Limestone is one of the most valuable natural resources known to man. Limestone is used for a plethora of purposes, most importantly to make concrete and glass. The method used to extract limestone from the earth’s crust, which includes the topmost surface of the various layers of soil, is known as quarrying. Also known as limestone quarrying, the practice has been debated hotly all around the world. Proponents of quarrying obviously lay out the advantages and why it should go on. Critics have cited grave consequences, most of which is already visible. Many cite coal mining and the subsequent environmental impacts but limestone quarrying should not be equated with mining and obtaining nonrenewable fossil fuels. Limestone doesn’t get combusted to produce energy.
List of Advantages of Limestone Quarrying
1. Jobs: The Economic and Social Impact
Limestone quarrying is a labor intensive operation. Machines or automated systems cannot take over the whole process. Large labor forces around the world are employed by innumerable small, medium and large companies. Limestone quarrying generates a lot of jobs. There is a direct economical impact. If limestone quarrying is banned today, innumerable people will be unemployed and they may not get any job elsewhere, with the employment scenario already looking grim. There is a social impact as well. Most people who work at quarries live nearby and there is a township, reasonable development and a small world of its own where people set up their lives.
2. Quintessential Raw Material
Limestone is a quintessential element or raw material for cement, paper, concrete, glass and it is also used to neutralize soils and acidic lakes. There is thus a larger industrial role and also an ecological significance.
List of Disadvantages of Limestone Quarrying
1. Immediate Ecological Damage
Limestone quarries are unsightly. They destroy forests and land, take away the habitats of animals and leave an ecological footprint that is irreparable. In some cases limestone quarries are landscapes so they can blend in with the larger environment over time and don’t look unsightly but the composition of the soil and the topography is altered forever. It is very similar to the impact of mining.
2. Larger Environmental Damage
Limestone quarrying as a process has its carbon footprint. The transport of limestone quarried leads to more environmental degradation. All uses of limestone have varying but some adverse impact on the environment. Large rocks are blasted to extract limestone which leads to more particulate matter in the air.