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Coal-Based Energy

What are the factors causing a decline in coal-based energy plants?

The drop in Coal-Based Energy Plants across the world is a crucial aspect of the ongoing shift towards more environmentally friendly and sustainable energy systems. This change is caused by several interrelated factors, including environmental, economic, and social considerations, as well as the growing competitiveness of renewable energy sources.

The factors causing a decline in coal-based energy plants are: -

Causes global warming 

Global warming is one of the most severe effects of coal, with some power plants worldwide still contributing to the harmful effects that accompany global warming. Both coal-powered power stations and coal mining activities release heat-trapping greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide.

Air pollution

Most of the air pollution in the world can be attributed to the insufficient burning of fossil fuels like gasoline, coal, and oil. Coal delivers more air pollution than any of the other energy sources. These toxic airborne emissions include tiny particles of fly ash that have nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, lead, and other heavy metals, which all negatively influence human health.
Health problems like respiratory problems, breathing difficulties, lung diseases, cardiovascular diseases, neurological disorders, cancer, and even premature death have all been related to these toxic emissions. Coal mining activities, particularly surface or strip mining, also contribute to air pollution via microscopic coal dust particles that are released into the air and are harmful to the health as well as the nearby communities and wildlife.

Water consumption from coal-based energy plants

Simply put, coal power stations utilize extensive amounts of water an hour and place a heavy burden on water resources. As it is in many parts of the globe, the need for water overreaches the supply, with intense competition for use between agricultural and agricultural municipal sectors.

Thermal pollution from coal-based energy plants

Once a coal plant has pumped the water via the plant to serve as a coolant, the wastewater is then released back into the water source. This wastewater is usually hotter by up to 25° F than the water produces what is known as thermal pollution when it is discharged back into the water. The temperature shift of the wastewater directly influences marine life by lowering oxygen supplies, reducing fertility, and even affecting surrounding ecosystems.

Water pollution from waste products

Power stations are known to produce waste products like slag, fly ash, bottom ash, and sludge which have concentrated amounts of heavy metal toxins like mercury and lead. And while some coal ash may be recycled into products like concrete or wallboard, a lot of the waste discovers its way into landfills or unlined pits.
A common technique by coal mines is to wash the mined coal with chemicals and water to remove all impurities before loading it for transport to suppliers. This results in liquid coal waste which is then kept in improvised ponds or underground water bins.

Destruction of habitats

Sadly, the search for a cheap energy source has resulted in the demolition of wildlife habitats and landscapes. Strip mining, also known as surface mining, strips the ground away to get the coal seams underneath. In doing so, methods like leveling or blasting are utilized, which in turn not only troubles but destroys surrounding wildlife habitat. Deforestation and soil erosion are other consequences of coal mining activities when topsoil is scraped away, and trees are uprooted or burned down to construct a way for a coal mine. The resulting consequences are that land can no longer be utilized for agricultural purposes like crop planting, and the loosened topsoil finds its route into waterways killing fish and plant life.

Causes acid rain

Mainly due to human activities, acid rain results when air pollutants like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are released into the atmosphere. And one of the biggest reason is coal-burning power plants that produces fly ash. These pollutants in the fly ash respond to water droplets, oxygen, and other substances in the air and produce sulfuric acid and airborne nitric resulting in acid rain.


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