Marble mining poses threat to biodiversity

CHITRAL: The mining of white marble and granite in the mountains of Gahirait and Golen is posing threat to biodiversity in the areas.Ejaz Ahmed, a biodiversity specialist, told media here on Thursday that environmental impact assessment should be carried out before leasing out minerals for exploration to minimise its aftereffects.He said that the Gahirait-Golen game reserve was known to be habitat of a rich biodiversity while huge quantity of fine quality white marble and granite was also found in the area.“If mining is carried out without taking environmental effects into consideration, the biodiversity will suffer a huge and irrecoverable loss,” Mr Ahmed feared.He said an important species of Fox Vulpus totally disappeared from the area as a result of disturbance in its natural habitat.He said that mining process would lead to destruction of ground vegetation, especially Artemisia species which was very effective for the control of soil erosion and provision of fodder for the grazing animals.Mr Ahmed said that Kashmir Markhor and Himalayan Ibex were reportedly migrating from the area due to disturbance of their habitat by mining.“During mining, some heavy metals such as Lead are reportedly thinned out accidentally. The dispersal of such a heavy metal in the atmosphere will cast serious effects on health – Dawn