Mar.18.2021 243 view review

Burning coal has some really harsh and negative effects on the environment that we continue to use as a means of fuel and energy. This non-renewable source of energy has created pollution of land, air, and water as well as negative impacts on marine life, wildlife, and mankind. This pollution from coal has created a non sustainable energy source that our planet has begun to rely on and here is why there are so many vast and destructive problems with coal.


Before we can dive into the negative impacts that coal has on the environment let’s first begin to understand a bit more about coal, what it is, and how it burns. Coal originally comes from organic pieces of matter that accumulate on the Earth’s surface over millions of years. The coal starts out as peat and once this peat gets buried the heat and pressure transform it into a pure form of coal that we use to convert into energy and fuel. The negative effects of coal largely come from the fact that is a nonrenewable resource, meaning that once it is burnt and used it cannot be put back to decompose into the earth. Coal is most commonly found in between layers of rock and is fairly abundant throughout the world.


negative effects of coal

Coal has many negative impacts on both the environment and those who inhabit this environment. Some of the reasons why there are so many negative impacts of coal include

  • Release of toxins- Coal contains a lot of sulfur as well as dangerous metals such as mercury, lead and arsenic which all get released into the air once it is burnt.
  • Carbon Dioxide- The burning of coal releases an extremely large amount of Carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as it is almost completely composed of CO2.
  • Dangerous- In order to obtain the coal, we use to burn coal mining first has to take place. The mining of coal is a process that has released fatal injuries and even deaths due to the dangers associated with the task.
  • Damage to the environment- Whilst there are many disadvantages of coal burning, the mining process of coal has a negative impact on the environment too as the technique used tends to change and damage many ecosystems and landscapes.


primary pollutants from burning coal

Burning coal pollution has one of the most devastating effects on both the land, air, and water, from the coal power plant emissions to the effects of the direct burning of coal and the mining process huge amounts of pollution have occurred throughout the entire globe. Some of the pollutants you are expected to find as a result of the burning of coal include

Air pollution

One of the worst and most devastating types of pollution is that of air pollution. This is because when coal is burned it releases toxins into the air, these toxins include mercury, lead, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides along with various other toxic chemicals. These chemicals affect our health and can and have caused breathing problems, increased risk of obtaining asthma, heart problems, cancer, and developmental diseases. As most of the power plants don’t have any restrictions or control over their pollution, the effects have been devastating especially in regions within close proximity to the plants.

Water pollution

Once the coal has been burned a leftover remains, this remaining coal is toxic, however, it is most often just discarded without thought or care and thus makes its way into our freshwater resources. The ash from coal contaminates water sources such as ponds, lakes, and rivers in which people rely on these sources to obtain their drinking water.


Why is coal bad? The negative effects of coal on the environment speak for itself as it affects almost every living organism in it and here’s how

  • Sulfur dioxide- When burning coal large amount of sulfur dioxide is released into the atmosphere which contributes to acid rain as well as respiratory illnesses in humans.
  • Nitrogen oxides- Nitrogen oxides are emitted as a result of the burning of coal and contribute to the smog seen in the atmosphere as well as an increased risk of obtaining respiratory illnesses.
  • Particulates- Particulates are emitted from coal and contribute to smog and haze as well as lung disease.
  • Carbon dioxide- Carbon dioxide is a primary greenhouse gas that is released into the atmosphere when burning coal and adds to the effects of global warming and climate change.
  • Mercury- Mercury is a toxic chemical that is released from the action of burning coal it has since been linked to neurological and developmental issues in humans as well as animals.


harmful effects of coal

The burning of coal has negative impacts on the environment, air, and water as well as its contribution towards global warming and climate change. Coal is the single biggest contributor to the overall increase in climate change and is responsible for nearly 42 percent of the world’s overall carbon dioxide emissions. The consequences of global warming as a result of the burning of coal include drought, sea-level rise, extreme weather conditions, and the loss of specific animal and plant species.

As you can see the burning of coal has extremely harsh effects on the planet and thus we aim to move to a more sustainable, eco-friendly, and renewable source of energy in its replacement. Fortunately, new forms of energy are already being discovered and built to help benefit our future.

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