Environmental impacts of coal industries

The coal industry is a branch of commercial enterprises which is related to the discovery and mining of coal.

Coal mining is a specific process through which coal is extracted from the ground by digging from a specific area as well as by using special techniques and instruments. Coal is valuable just because of its energy contents. Coal has been widely used to produce electricity since the 1880s. Cement and steel industries also use coal as a fuel for the removal of iron from iron ore and for cement production.

What are the impacts of the coal industries

There are many bad impacts of coal

  • Water pollution
  • Air pollution
  • Waste management
  • Land uses

There are also severe effects on health which are caused by the burning of coal these industries as

  • Cerebrovascular problems
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Respiratory problems

The burning of coal can also cause bad effects on the environment. When coal burns many gases are produced as well as particles of ash known as fly-ash are also escaped into the environment. The sulfur produced by the burning of coal reacts with oxygen and forms a sulfur oxide that is main and for the most element that causes air pollution if is produced in a huge amount.

Air Pollution and Coal Mining

Air pollution is caused by the burning of coal in industries where many gases such as sulfur nitrogen are gone to the environment where sulfur and nitrogen combine with oxygen to form a sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxides, as well as fly ash particles, are also released in the air which causes air pollution. 

Air pollution is also concerned with coal-fired power plants and many health diseases are linked with these coal power stations as enlisted below.

Lung ailments, Cancer, Asthama, Heart problems, Neurological problems, Acid rain, Global Warming, etc. [1]Sources of air pollution due to coal mining and their impacts in Jharia coalfield – ScienceDirect

Water Pollution and Coal Mining

Water pollution can also occur Just because of the burning of coal in mining and coal industries. Water pollution has also negative effects on health. Though water pollution and acid rain also fall where around the mining and coal industries. 

It also contaminates the groundwater, rivers, seas, streams, and lakes just from heavy metals mercury, and many others. About 72% of water pollution comes into our water reserve in our countries just because coal-burning water is used to remove and was the coal from its ore, and sometimes coal is transported by using water. 

Water is also used to cool the streams, where electricity is produced in coal power stations. Water is also used to control the pollution which is occurring by plants’ contamination. The deposition of waste products from mining industries contaminates the water which we use for drinking and cooking purposes.

The deposition of waste products of coal industries into the lakes, streams, and ponds can cause severe threats to aquatic organisms. [2]River Water Pollution Control Strategy Due to Coal Mining Activities (Case Study in Kungkilan River West Merapi District, Lahat) | Suroso | Sriwijaya Journal of Environment (unsri.ac.id)

Effects of coal industries on health

Coal industries have bad effects on living organisms. It can cause skin cancer, heart issue, asthma, black lung ailments, and many other severe environmental and public health issue and effects. There are not only physical effects on health.

There is a big risk for the worker those work in mining or coal industries with respiratory effects which is caused by chemical particles on dust particles in high-level coal industries. The major problems are massive fibrosis and black lungs. 

Hearing problems are more common in mining industries. There are also severe threats to health caused just because of the mining as well as coal industries.

These threats include heart problems like blocking of arteries which result in heart attacks, heart failure in function, and death of heart tissue just because of lack of oxygen in an environment where a person does work. 

When a minor inhales a huge amount of silica, quartz, or crystalline then an irreversible, disabling kind of sickness occurs which is known as silicosis. The black long disease is also caused by the above elements. Fibrosis disease occurs just because of the scarring and inhalation of air in this kind of environment. [3]Redirecting (elsevier.com)

Aquatic life and coal mining

Coal industries and minings have also bad effects on aquatic life because the wastes like chemicals and other different heavy metals are drained out into the waterways like lakes, streams, and sea, etc, so these chemicals and heavy metals react with oxygen found in water bodies through which suffocation results just because of the blackness of oxygen and many aquatic animals get death. [4]Response of Aquatic Life to Coal Mining in Appalachia | SpringerLink

Impacts of coal mining on wildlife

Coal and other mining industries have bad impacts on wildlife because the surface mining from the rocks and mountain tops can produce large amounts of ash particles and many other harmful pollutants particles are produced. These particles enter the air, and land waterways through which our wildlife gets disturbed. 

This mining also becomes the reason for acid rainfall around the industrial areas which has very bad effects on both living and non-living organisms/objects. Acid rain also disturbs the reproduction of the animals and aquatic plants as well as their growth so there is a big loss of animals and plants occurs. [5]NRDC: Coal’s War on Wildlife (PDF)  

[6]1427563080.pdf (erjournal.ru) [7]Environmental impacts of coal mining and associated wastes: a geochemical perspective | Geological Society, London, Special Publications (lyellcollection.org)

Reviewed by:
Dr. Muhammad Tahir Ph.D. (PU)
Post Doctorate

American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA

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