Science as a Human Endeavour Task Industry on the Burrup Peninsula - Paper Example

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Harvey Mudd College
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How has the discovery of historical artifacts on an existing industry chemical area influenced how chemical industries must be mindful of their processes to the local surroundings?


Peninsula is a land which is surrounded by some water, and there are many chemical industries which are placed in the area. It is a unique ecological area as it contains the collection of petroglyphs and standing stones (Pollution destroying heritage-listed art, 2017). The chemical industries for example specifically the production of ammonia contribute to the emission of harmful gases which in turn contribute to the formation of acid rain. The most common harmful industrial gases are:


Carbon (IV) oxide

Carbon (II) oxide

Hydrogen chloride

Nitrous oxide

Nitrogen trifluoride

Sulphur (IV) oxide

Sulphur hexafluoride

Acid rain and exposure to these emissions are decaying the surface of the rocks in the nearby area, therefore, removing significant art work which was formed thousands of years ago. There are two primary ways through which rocks weather namely, physical and chemical. The harmful gases listed above are the causes of acid rain which in turn dissociate rocks in a couple of ways. For instance, chemical weathering of rocks through carbonation process occurs when carbon (IV) oxide dissolves in water to form carbonic acid. Carbonic acid attacks and dissociates rocks especially lime stones and those containing a significant proportion of lime. The following is a weathering reaction of carbonic acid:

CCaCO3 + H2CO3 -> Ca(HCO3)2

(Calcite) slightly soluble (Ca bi carbonate) readily soluble

These historic sites are precious assets which need to be reserved by the government and local people. Cultural identity is an important aspect of a community. Therefore, it is important to preserve the site of any discovered artifacts to retain the knowledge. Chemical industries present environmental concerns such as waste disposal and harmful emissions, so it is important for these industries to be mindful and have policies and procedures in place to manage and maintain the surrounding environment.

Significance of engravings and the peninsula, history, culture

Burrup Peninsula is the oldest art sites in the world, and it is situated near the north east of Western Australia. Some Ybarra or inhabitants of the area and they left a rich heritage culture for the Burrup as this contains the prehistoric rock art (Debate over industry impact on WA rock art, 2017). Their aboriginal community represents the culture which is adopted by the peninsula. The art which is incorporated by the people is represented in the form of a human face.

Engraving is a practice which is performed to print a design on the hard or flat surface. It is a historical method which is used to produce some images for mapmaking, print making, and commercial reproductions. This plays a more significant role in the Burrup peninsula as they can attract many more culture (Where art meets industry: protecting the spectacular rock art of the Burrup Peninsula, 2017).


Australian Geographic. 2017.

Current Industries based at the peninsula

There are two chemical firms situated at the peninsula, being Yara Pilbara, Pluto LNG Park which produces the chemical by using the raw material.

Chemical concepts, background information, and chemistry involved in these plants

Two chemical industries Yara International and Australias Orica Ltd which performed a joint venture and they produced an ammonium nitrate. The plant uses a technique where they convert natural gas into ammonia, and after that, it gets converted into ammonium nitrate. This is the main component which is used in the iron ore mining industry (Water Corporation of WA, 2017). This added some value to the natural resources and iron industry will also be able to get their vital component.

Some new technologies have been developed by the industry on Burrup Peninsula. The new technologies include employing lean techniques that see the reduction of harmful gas and other waste products. Lean production is a systematic method that seeks to minimize waste within a manufacturing plant without compromising on productivity. For this, some new models and theories are developed which will help the chemical industry to make ammonium nitrate in an effective manner (Chemical plant to make explosives opens on WA's Burrup Peninsula, 2017). The plan which is producing chemical is designed as per the new standards more ammonium nitrate can be produced at low prices. The process for the formation of ammonia nitrate is discussed below. Unfortunately, the emission exposure of the plant resulted in harmful gaseous elements contributing to the formation of acid rain;

The ammonia plant process flow chart is shown in Figure 2, and the details of the plant layout are shown in Figure 3. The main steps of the ammonia production process are as follows: Feed gas desulphurization; Primary reforming; Secondary reforming; Carbon dioxide shift conversion; Carbon dioxide removal; Methanation; Cryogenic purification; Ammonia synthesis; and Ammonia refrigeration


Explanation of the impact or significance of the focus

The ammonia plant uses a modern version of the conventional natural gas steam reforming process based on the KBR Purifier Process developed by the Kellogg Brown and Root. This process was identified to be the best available technology by the European Fertilizer Manufacturer Association (EFMA, 2000) which aims to minimize the production of pollutions but overall was found to produce still emissions that impacted on the natural surroundings. The major gas emissions which are produced when operating the plant is nitrogen oxide NOX,whi ch is produced by the primary reformer in the plant production process. Additionally carbon monoxide CO and sulfur dioxide SO2.

The major impact this can have is the decay of the rocks in the area therefore decay of the rock is a significant concern due to the emission of these substances contributing to chemical weathering. This is defined as when the rock that formed over millions of years, the original minerals were crystallized deep in crust, the the and when under high pressures and temperatures become unstable in the surface environment and eventually break down. Nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide are elements and can contribute to forming acidic rain which results in chemical weathering of the rocks. The chemical weathering process is whereby the acid reacts with the surface rocks to form new minerals that are stable with the physical and chemical conditions present at the earths surface. Excess ions left over from the chemical reactions are carried away by water. (Processes of Chemical Weathering . 2017)

Acids. Acids are chemical compounds that decompose in water to release hydrogen atoms. Hydrogen atoms frequently substitute for other elements in mineral structures, breaking them down to form new minerals that contain the hydrogen atoms. The most abundant natural acid is carbonic acid, a weak acid that consists of dissolved carbon dioxide in water. Rainwater usually contains some dissolved carbon dioxide and is slightly acidic. The burning of coal, oil, and gasoline releases carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and sulfur into the atmosphere, which reacts with rainwater to form much stronger carbonic, nitric, and sulfuric acids that damage the environment (acid rain). Reword this to help form in report

He says iron and manganese compounds in the patina are stable at a pH of 6-9, but acid rain from current industries is reducing the pH of the rock surface below 6, with some measurements as low as 4.4.

Engravings at Climbing Man Valley

As acid rain and additional nitrogen in the environment increase with industrial emissions, the iron and manganese compounds dissolve. Black says that can degrade the rock surface patina and cause images to disappear or discolor.

Ben Smith, professor of world rock art at the University of Western Australia, says rock art has coexisted on the Burrup with industry since the 1960s. All operating licenses have been granted on condition that their emissions will have no impact on the rock art, he says. But until now we have largely had that on good faith. equations here to indicate how acid rain is formed


Greenhouse gasesPollutants include nitrogen dioxide, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide, methane, ammonia, dust-sized ammonium nitrate particles and greenhouse gas equivalents.

Acid rainHigh emissions have been proven around the world to produce acid rain, which degrades rock surfaces and affects human health. Impacts for rock art are cumulative and increase with every year of emissions.

NitrogenMurujuga rocks and soils are extremely low in nitrogen. The nitrogen deposits from industrial emissions will exponentially increase the local growth of microbes and plants, and this poses a massive threat to the rock art.

GraffitiGraffiti is another serious issue impacting on the rock art

Communication and Management

In the Burrup Peninsula, different teams and organizations are performed their so communication, management and monitoring of the sites chemical processes is essential to be able to maintain the existing external environment nearby, therefore, conserving the natural environment. The most effective communication method is through brainstorming. Through brainstorming, each individual will be given a chance to express their concern and the best suggestion will be ascertained and put into practice.

Along with these, industries have to take care of their ethical as well as social considerations so that their overall operations can be accomplished in a smooth manner (Greens concern for emission levels on Burrup Peninsula, 2016). Ethical considerations can be related to the code of practices which can help a business to attain their goals in right direction. Apart from this, social needs are related to the needs, demands, wants, and a requirement of society. Some of these issues and considerations are as follows:

Along with this, International Federation of rock art conducts some campaign at the place to prevent such rock art or d...

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