Mining and burning coal for fuel is harmful to the environment; but, because coal is so abundant and cheap, many people are reluctant to give it up as a fuel source. Here is why you need to stop today!!!
- Burning coal releases toxins. Coal contains sulfur and other elements, including dangerous metals such as mercury, lead, and arsenic, that escape into the air when coal is burned. Burning coal also produces particulates that increase air pollution and health dangers.
- Burning coal emits large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Coal is composed almost entirely of carbon, so burning coal unleashes large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. These emissions have been shown to increase the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere and lead to global warming.
- Subsurface coal mining is dangerous. Coal is often mined in subsurface mines, which may collapse and trap miners. And the air in subsurface coal mines leads to black lung disease, where coal particles and pollutants fill the lungs and cause inflammation and respiratory illness.
- Surface coal mining damages the environment. Mountaintop removal mining is used to access layers of coal buried deep within mountains. This mining technique alters the landscape and damages ecosystems.
- Integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC):IGCC technology converts coal into gas, removing sulfur and metals. This gas generates electricity by fueling turbines while the side products (sulfur and metals) are concentrated and sold. IGCC plants are cleaner and more efficient than coal-burning electric plants and have the potential to capture CO2 emissions in the future.
- Carbon sequestration:One of the biggest problems with burning coal is the amount of CO2 it adds to the atmosphere. Carbon sequestration includes various ways to capture and store carbon underground instead of allowing it to fill the atmosphere. Currently, some coal-burning plants store carbon in underground abandoned mines or in oil wells. Other plants pump the carbon into sedimentary rocks or below the ocean floor.
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