Fossil Fuels–their danger to the environment and soil
Fossil fuels has many uses to people in this time which means without the support of fossil fuels, the world cannot make the cars run, heat up our dwellings, or even supply power in order to have lights in those dim areas. It is said that the combustion of fossil fuels provides 85% of the demands of the world for its energy (Chughtai and Shannon). These fossil fuels are made from decayed plants and animals hundreds of million years ago which turned into fuels such as natural gas, oil, and coal and is can be found underneath the Earth (“Environmental Change and Our Health: Glossary”). And these fuels are burn up in order to discharge the energy stored in it, which is the chemical energy, and this energy was use nowadays.
The use of fossil fuels however cannot be used for so many years. It has so many effects that the mother Earth can no longer survive if the people would not stop using these kind of energy producing material. The environment will be the first one that will suffer from the use of these fossil fuels and the people will be the next one to face the consequences. For now, there are many environmental issues against the use of fossil fuels. These problems that are related with the utilization of fossil fuels are spillage of oil, fire outbreaks due to seeping out of gas, contamination of the water and also the air, having acid rains, and the most controversial environmental issue nowadays is the global warming(Klinge and Toledo). If these fuels were spilled out from the container it will not only damage the land, the plant life, but also large bodies of water. These would be very toxic if it is taken accidentally by all faunas. Spilled oil is also very detrimental to feathers of birds and even to hairs of other fauna which sometimes may lead to death of that animal. Almost all oil spills from the past years or even decades happens in bodies of water. These spills have shown a great effect not only to marine life but also to economic stability of a country where spillage happens because of reduction of visitors wherein they are promoting it as a tourism spot or recreational area and also, there is a decline in fish catch.
Natural gas is said to be the cleanest and mainly ingenious of all three fossil fuels and has the smallest amount in supply. It is the one that is extremely combustible and unscented gas that is to be found. From below, it is being pumped and then sent to big pipelines which will be stored in stored tanks. From this point, it will go to a person’s house in order to cook their food and heat up their house. Natural gas is also sent to an industrial unit and power plants in order to generate electricity. The remarkable truth regarding natural gas is that it has no odor and no one will ever see it. So, how does everyone knows if there’s a gas leakage? The fact is, before it is sent to the pipelines, this natural gas is mixed with a very strong stinky substance that gives it this smelling odor if there’s a leak already (Peterson). And if there’s a gas leak, there’s a high probability that an explosion may occur. An explosion is always accompanied by fire outburst. And when this happens in a very populated area, many lives will be indeed in a great danger. It will cause severe injury to the citizens or even death to some, and will obliterate a lot of properties.
Every activity done by humans had a bad effect on the environment. Such activity is the withdrawal of coal in a particular area, which is called coal mining, where it will probably pollute the water resources near the said area. There is this compound that is very toxic that a coal has, which is known as pyrite, a sulfur compound. This compound will be mix with water as it washes down through mines and will form a dilute acid, which is then transported into near watercourses (“The Hidden Cost of Fossil Fuels”). Fishes and other marine life in the said stream or rivers will be infected by this activity therefore, all living things living there will soon die out until there’s no longer life exist there.
Having a fresh air to breath is everybody’s wish in order to attain a healthy lifestyle. But there are some significant pollutants that are being produced during fossil fuel burning. Such gases that pollute the air are carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and hydrocarbons which are from the emissions from vehicles, thermal power plants and factories (“The Hidden Cost of Fossil Fuels”). These pollutants greatly contribute to the lowering of the quality of air and make everyone susceptible to disease caused by these pollutants. For example, the emission of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere, wherein cars and trucks are the primary source, can cause headaches and put extra anxiety on people with heart ailments. Nitrogen oxides will easily noticed because it looks like a yellowish-brown gas over the metropolis skyline. It can bring irritation to lungs which can cause bronchitis and pneumonia if it is inhaled by people. Sulfur oxides, on the other hand, are created by the oxidation of the existing sulfur in the gas. These two gases contribute to the formation of acid rain that is hazardous to the environment also (“The Hidden Cost of Fossil Fuels”). In addition to, hydrocarbons are produced when gas molecules do not burn or partly burn only in the engines of cars and trucks. This will respond with the sunlight and nitrogen oxide making a big role to the development of what we call ozone. The result of it can damage the lungs, irritate the eyes, and can be a source of some respiratory obscurity. Some of the hydrocarbons are very detrimental that sometimes may cause very serious health problems like cancer (“Society: Exhaust Emissions”).
As mentioned earlier, acid rains are produced because of the production of sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides when it is released in the atmosphere. These gases unite with water vapor in the atmosphere that will develop into a such acid that is very toxic and later will happen to be component of the rainfall and even snowfall (“The Hidden Cost of Fossil Fuels”). Having acid rain can contribute to the deprivation of the soil, as mentioned earlier, water pollution, and even forest diminution. These acid rains when reach the soil will mingle with the elements or minerals desirable for all floras to develop compounds that may be diminutive, or toxic to the plants. On other words, acid rain washes all the essential nutrients needed by the plants in order to survive. This would greatly affect the sector of agriculture which is the responsible for the production of crops for human consumption. Elimination of essential nutrients could badly influence all living flora when acid rains combine with them. Also, when there is an acid rain, it can directly assault vegetation that can cause some departed mark on the foliage and bark of planted vegetation. This will surely reduce the capability of the flora to produce the food necessary for them to survive. These dead spots on leaves and even barks of trees are very susceptible to pest infestations (Dorschner).
The most controversial environmental issue nowadays is non-other than global warming. Global warming is defined as a slow increase in the normal hotness of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere which has been credited to the accumulation of different gases that are hazardous to the environment. Among the gases that fossil fuels have been emitting when it is burned is carbon dioxide which is then trap in the atmosphere. If this continually happens, then there will be a rise in sea-level due to thawing of glaciers and warming of bodies of water that will result to deluge of swampland, river deltas, and worst, areas where there are many people residing. Even the weather pattern may change that may cause a tremendous climate events. And the domestic agricultural region could suffer an increase in the incidence of droughts (“The Hidden Cost of Fossil Fuels”)
The use of fossil fuels is a great help for everyone but its continuous use may lead to the destruction of the environment. The use of alternative forms of energy is necessary in order to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. With this, the environment will be save and also the mother Earth. Remember that if people do not care about his environment, then they are the one that will suffer from the consequences. People are the one that is responsible for making the Earth worst for making technology to ease the way of their living.
Chughtai, Osman, and David Shannon. “Fossil Fuels”. CGI programs. May 09 2007. <http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/society/fossilfuels.htm>.
Dorschner, Cheryl. “Acid Rain Damage Far Worse Than Previously Believed”. 2005. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. May 10 2007. <http://www.forestrycenter.org/headlines.cfm?refID=75498>.
“Environmental Change and Our Health: Glossary”. ECOHEALTH. May 09 2007. <http://www.ecohealth101.org/glossary.html#top>.
“The Hidden Cost of Fossil Fuels”. 2005. (08/10/05): Union of Concerned Scientists May 09 2007. <http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/fossil_fuels/the-hidden-cost-of-fossil-fuels.html>.
Klinge, Emily, and Daniel Toledo. “Caspian Basin Alert
Fossil Fuels Controversies”. 2002. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. May 09 2007. <http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/caspianfuels.html>.
Peterson, Kim. “Solving the Northwest’s Energy Crisis”. fwee.org. May 09 2007. <http://www.fwee.org/scholarships/kim_peterson.html>.
“Society: Exhaust Emissions”. 2000. ThinkQuest team C006011
May 10 2007. <http://library.thinkquest.org/C006011/english/sites/society1.php3?v=2>.