Noise pollution from deep sea mining can travel hundreds of miles


A new study has found that noise pollution from underwater mining activities can travel hundreds of kilometres.

The study was conducted by researchers from University of Hawaii at Manoathe Oceans Initiativethe National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan and Curtin University in Australia.

The research, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, found that the sound of a single mine under good weather conditions can travel about 311 miles or 500 kilometers. The team believes the effects can be cumulative in areas with multiple mines, allowing for a much larger dissipation radius.

The research was conducted in response to the prospect of permitted mining operations in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) which is between Hawaii and Mexico. Commenting on the research and the mining project, Craig Smithprofessor emeritus of oceanography at UH Manoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST)declared:

“Our modeling suggests that mining noise could impact areas well beyond the actual mine sites, including preservation reference areas, which must, under the proposed mining regulations, be unaffected by noise. Mining…may require a rethink of environmental regulations, including the number of mining operations allowed in the CCZ.

Whereas Curtin University Teacher Christine Erbe declared:

“Estimating the noise of future equipment and installations is a challenge, but it is not necessary to wait until the first mines are operational to discover the noise they make. By identifying the noise level in the engineering design phase, we can better prepare for the impact it could have on marine life. »

And Travis Washburndeep-sea ecologist AIST added:

“The deep seas are potentially home to millions of species that have yet to be identified, and the processes allow life on Earth to exist…While much work is still needed to determine the extent and magnitude of the environmental impacts of deep sea mining, with careful study and management, we have a unique opportunity to understand and mitigate human impacts on the environment before they occur.


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