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South African Mine Effluents: Heavy Metal Pollution and Impact on the Ecosystem

Author(s): Ebenebe PN, Shale K, Sedibe MM, Achilonu MC and Tikilili P

South Africa embarks on extensive mining activities, which consequently produce enormous quantities of toxic HMs1 that pollute the surroundings; subjecting the ecosystem to dangers of infections and diseases. Prevalence of HMs in different environmental media and their impact depend on the physical and chemical states of the metal, which tends to persist in their localities because they cannot be biologically or chemically degraded as with organic substances. Mine fugitive dust clouds the environment; in most cases causing irrevocable damage to the biota, with harmful metals usually transferred from water bodies to the food chain via assimilation, bioaccumulation and biomethylation processes.

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