Steel is useful. We build our buildings, transport, and infrastructure with it. We use it for medical implants, domestic appliances, for utensils to eat with, and as jewellery to wear.
The Gwangyang Steel Works in South Korea that inspired this artwork outputs around eighteen million tons of steel every year. One ton is equal to the weight of a small car. Think of one hundred small cars in a row. Now think of a thousand. Ten thousand. A million...
The world production of steel is 100 times that of The Gwangyang Steel Works.
The process of making steel produces oxides of sulphur, particulate matter, fugitive dust, coal tar, volatile organic compounds, arsenic, beryllium, chromium, nitrogen dioxide, and sulphur dioxide.
Despite around 80% of steel being recycled, steel production has a major negative environmental impact. Over one thousand million tons of wastewater that contains carcinogenic organic compounds is produced in a year of steel mining. 1.83 tons of CO2 is emitted for every ton of steel produced.
As I gaze at this artwork I am encouraged to think of my use of steel, its impact on the environment, and my effort to more carefully consider my actions.
Within twenty five years the global demand from humans for steel is set to grow five times...
Mike de Sousa
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