Sunday, 19 May 2013

Who said gold was at the end of the rainbow?

We have all heard that if you follow the rainbow and arrive at the end, there will be a pot of gold waiting for you. Obviously, this is not true (if that were the case, we'd all be millionaires!). However what awaits in the deep may be of value.

The UN International Seabed Authority (ISA) has published it's first plan on extracting small mineral-rich nodules from the sea bed. This "idea" has been thrown around for many a year, however with the recent  developments in technology and the rising prices for the gems and precious metals, it has become a more feasible plan.

I suppose in some ways this could be beneficial to a country and help to boost their economy, however the irreversible damage which will be carried out upon the sea bed, really needs to be considered. Much of our oceans have not yet been explored and so we may be potentially affecting an animal's habitat and more importantly we could be forcing an animal or coral reef into extinction purely on the greed of humans!

The ISA has stated that they will be issuing 17 licences for seabed extraction, with at least 7 more to follow. ISA claims that any profit made from the selling of the minerals will be donated to developing countries. Although the donation of profit is a good gesture, it could actually be making matters worse. The degradation of the seabed could affect the footfall of tourists who travel to countries and small islands to experience the exquisite marine life. So the saying 'all that glitters is not gold' is apparently true, our oceans may be full of priceless gems and metals but they are also home to some amazing creatures and beautiful plants.

Should the price of gemstones and metals outweigh the precious organisms of our seas?

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