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# Operations at the Green Hills Gold Mine are continuously releasing mer

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Re: Operations at the Green Hills Gold Mine are continuously releasing mer [#permalink]
Bunuel wrote:
Operations at the Green Hills Gold Mine are continuously releasing mercury into the headwaters of the Apache River, and most fish in the Apache River now have mercury levels at or above the legal limit for human consumption. With the price of gold rising, forcing more and more mining at Green Hills, there seems no hope for food fishing along the Apache River.

Which of the following plans, if feasible, would allow the state to assist the food fishing industries along the Apache?

(A) State workers will test the algae and underwater plants for mercury, removing those above a certain mercury threshold. These algae and plants are the principal food source of the food fish.

(B) The state bank will start to buy up large amounts of gold, preferentially buying directly from the Green Hills mines.

(C) Every six months, the state will send testers to twelve locations along the upper and lower Apache River, to test the mercury content in the water and in fish.

(D) The state will mount a public awareness campaign, educating private citizen and restaurateurs about the dangers of high levels of mercury in food fish.

(E) Immediately downstream from Green Hills, the state will install a sophisticated ionic filtration plant, which will substantially reduce the level of heavy metals (including mercury) in the water.

Official Explanation

We have a problem. Gold mining releases mercury, which contaminates the fish, enough that they are dangerous for humans to eat. Consequently, the food fishing industry is dying, and we want to implement a plan that will address this problem and save this dying industry.

(E) is the credited answer. If we can lower the mercury levels just downstream from the Green Hills mines, which will solve the problem at its root cause.

(A) Do the fish get the mercury from eating the alga? We don't know. Suppose they do: even then, this won't help ---- it certainly will not benefit the fish if we wind up removed their primarily source of food. Instead of living fish full of mercury, we would have fish that starved to death. Hardly an improvement!

(B) buying gold will only increase the pace of mining, which will increase the levels of mercury released into the river, which will exacerbate the problem, rather than solving it.

Both (C) & (D) make the same fallacy: knowledge, in and of itself, is not a solution. Simply knowing how much more mercury there is, or having citizens knowing the dangers of ingesting mercury, will not, by itself, make the mercury level drop or save the fishing industry in any way.
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Re: Operations at the Green Hills Gold Mine are continuously releasing mer [#permalink]
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Re: Operations at the Green Hills Gold Mine are continuously releasing mer [#permalink]
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