(MENAFN - Jordan Times) AMMAN — The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) on Monday condemned the government-commissioned plan to redraw the borders of Dana Biosphere Reserve that would make way for copper mining.
“Resetting the borders of Dana Biosphere Reserve to begin copper mining changes the area from a place of nature, life and tranquillity into a centre of noise, pollution and dust,” the RSCN said in a statement sent to The Jordan Times.
The environmental pollution resulting from mining threatens the reserve's existence and ecosystems, the statement said, adding that mining pollution is“one of the top problems that humanity suffers from in modern times”.
The RSCN said that concentrations of pollutants used in mining can leak into groundwater and eventually make their way into human consumption.
Muna Hindiyeh, a water and environment expert, said in the statement that copper mining results in copper leakage to ground water, which will cause damage to plant roots.
Suzan Kilani, an expert in water quality, said that there are several copper-mining methods, depending on the amounts of copper, its depth in the ground and a given site's geological structure.
The most common practice, she said, requires blasting rocks and extracting copper ores in a process referred to as open-pit mining.
Kilani said in the statement that mining projects typically require large amounts of water — a resource already scarce in Jordan — and expressed uncertainty regarding the source of water to be used.
The RSCN reiterated its stance that strongly rejects the deduction of any part of the Dana reserve or any other reserve, stressing that it would proceed with legal actions to protect nature.
Dana Biosphere Reserve has been managed by the RSCN since 1989, according to the organisation. It is the first nature reserve nominated and added to UNESCO's World Heritage Convention list and one of the most popular environmental tourist attractions in the Kingdom.
The biosphere employs 85 locals, indirectly supporting 200 families, and provides almost JD2.370 million annually to the local community, according to the statement.
The RSCN is legally in charge of establishing and managing all of the nature reserves in the Kingdom, according to Jordan's 2005 Environmental Law.
Spread over 292 square kilometres, the biosphere is located in Tafileh Governorate, 180km southwest of Amman.
Dana Biosphere Reserve is Jordan's largest and most diverse nature biosphere, with 891 vegetation types that constitute 30 per cent of the country's total flora, according to the RSCN. Three of the plants in Dana Biosphere can only be found at the reserve.
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