Environmental Repercussions of Gem Mining in Sri Lanka





As an industry, the gem industry has positive impacts on the economy and society while having severe negative impacts on the environment and health. Most of these impacts cannot be recovered for an extended period of time while causing the deaths of all living organisms on Earth. This study has portrayed the environmental repercussions of traditional and mechanical gem mining techniques practiced by the gem miners in Ratnapura while discussing the remedies that can be adapted to overcome those environmental. The population of the study consisted of gem mining lands in Ratnapura, and a sample of five tunnel gem mine lands, five backhoe gem mine lands, and five river gem mine lands was selected. Data was collected through observation and direct discussions with gem miners to identify the environmental repercussions of gem mining activities. The analysis was done using a narrative analysis of qualitative research. The study found that while gem mining contributes significantly to the economic development of the country, the techniques used, including tunnel gem mining, backhoe gem mining, and river gem mining, have several negative impacts on the environment, such as water contamination, soil erosion, deforestation, loss of biodiversity and animal habitats, and nutrient depletion. The study suggests that environmentally friendly methods for gem mining should be adopted, and government regulation is necessary to reduce the impact of mining activities on the environment. The study provides valuable insights into the environmental impact of gem mining in Ratnapura and highlights the need for sustainable practices in the gem industry.