The main purpose of adopting the EV platform was to improve the health conditions of human beings.
However, by shifting to this domain, we may unintentionally contribute to the problem of global pollution and unethical practices.
Electric vehicles are quite different from the ICE vehicles that we’ve been using for several decades.
The batteries of these electric cars contain metals including Lithium and Cobalt. So, as we all know, for acquiring these metals, that exists deep down inside the earth, we need to mine.
The mining of such metals has its consequences on the planet and human beings might be turning a blind eye to these adverse effects for now.
Child Labor Is Common For Cobalt Mining
Let’s take Cobalt for example. Around 60% of the worldwide Cobalt is derived from the Republic of Congo. Being an underdeveloped country, this region is infested with the issue of child labor.
The situation is so bad that children start mining around the age of 7 so when the air filled with Cobalt gets to their lungs, it causes severe illnesses.
Besides this, it is a common phenomenon that during mining, tunnels often collapse leading to the death of several people, including children.
As the battery production for EVs is highly dependent on Cobalt and Lithium, these metals are required in abundance.
Unethical Practices In Vogue
The extraction of Cobalt, particularly the mineral processing, affects the nearby water reserves which the close by located population is forced to drink.
Another unethical practice that is affecting the ecological balance is that during Lithium extraction, an abundant quantity of water is used to extract the metal.
Which Countries Are Particularly Infamous?
This practice is particularly famous in countries including:
Besides this, Tibet is also notorious for the extraction of Lithium mining and the malpractices followed there.
Which Major Problems Are We Headed Into?
This has led to several problems which include:
– Lowering of groundwater levels;
– Increase in area of deserts;
– Global warming.
The Situation Will Aggravate In Future
As the human population is continually growing, the demand for more EVs is an undeniable fact.
However, more electric vehicles translate to higher battery requirements. This means that more metals including Lithium & Cobalt will be required in the future than ever before.
This surge in demand will not only contribute to the worsening of child labor but will also lead to an acceleration in the above-mentioned problems such as water shortage and global warming.
Other Materials Will Also Be Required Additionally
Besides this, the infrastructure for the manufacturing of these EV batteries and charging stations will also necessitate more cement, steel and other such components.
All this will have its negative effects on the planet e.g. we will require more copper for the wiring of these infrastructures & for the EVs themselves.
According to an estimate, the world is going to see an increase in Copper demand of around 300% by the year 2050.
What Can Be Done Alternatively?
Here are some of the alternatives that can be brought to practice:
– Turning to the seas for exploration of such metals;
– Forcing companies to manufacture EVs that are more reliable will add to their longevity. This means that such vehicles will have higher lifespans and thus the impact on the planet will be reduced;
– Turning to renewable energy sources is another great way to reduce the impact on the planet. This is important because in such cases we will reduce the carbon emissions;
– Forcing even third world countries to ban child labor can be an effective mechanism.
While EVs have their benefits, they also have a lot of adverse effects on the planet & our society.
It is up to us to minimize the negative side and add to the positive one if we want to make our planet greener and safer.