Negative Effects Of Coal Mining On The Environment – No matter how you feel about it, coal is always polluting. In fact, it is the most polluting way of producing electricity. When coal is dug up and later burned in power plants, it releases huge amounts of pollution that harms our health and contributes to intensifying climate change.
In addition to increasing greenhouse gas pollution, burning coal emits toxic and carcinogenic substances into our air, water and soil, severely affecting the health of miners, workers and surrounding communities.
- 1 Negative Effects Of Coal Mining On The Environment
- 1.1 Does Lithium Mining Have Consequences?
- 1.2 Coal Powered The Industrial Revolution. It Left Behind An ‘absolutely Massive’ Environmental Catastrophe
- 1.3 Killer Coal: Just How Bad Are The Health Effects Of Coal?
- 1.4 Water Pollution Effects From Mining Require Environmental Characterization.
- 1.5 Visualizing The Importance Of Environmental Management In Mining
- 2 From Canadian Coal Mines, Toxic Pollution That Knows No Borders
Negative Effects Of Coal Mining On The Environment
“The overwhelming majority of scientists say there can be no more coal mines if we are to have any chance of a safe climate. Medical organizations are increasingly recognizing the health risks and the British Medical Journal describes climate change as ‘a health emergency’ – Dr Kate Charlesworth , Climate Council.
Appalachia’s Strip Mined Mountains Face A Growing Climate Risk: Flooding
In Australia, the health impacts of coal cost taxpayers an estimated $2.4 billion each year and can cause a range of health problems, including higher rates of asthma in children, heart and lung disease and some cancers. Over two million Australians are exposed to toxic pollutants from coal-fired power stations.
In recent years, Australia has seen the re-emergence of coal dust diseases, including the life-threatening ‘black lung’ (coal workers’ pneumoconiosis) in Australia, which was thought to have been eradicated. Since 2015, there have been 35 confirmed cases.
At least 11 people are believed to have died from air pollution from the Hazelwood mine fire in Victoria in 2014.
Image credit: “Morwell & Hazelwood – 9/10 Feb, 2014” by Flickr user Sascha Grant licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
A Pantropical Assessment Of Deforestation Caused By Industrial Mining
Globally, exposure to air pollution contributed to 4.2 million deaths in 2020. Of these deaths, 80 percent (3.3 million) were due to anthropogenic emissions, of which 35 percent (1.2 million) were directly related to burning fossil fuels. Without fossil fuels, average life expectancy would increase by more than a year, and the economic and health costs associated with burning fossil fuels would decrease by nearly $3 trillion.
Other countries are experiencing serious health impacts from coal. In China, 366,000 deaths were attributed to coal alone in 2013. In India, coal kills about 169,000 people annually. In the United States, 50,000 coal-related deaths are recorded each year, with air pollution from coal-fired power plants contributing to four of the five leading causes of death in the United States (heart disease, cancer, stroke, and chronic respiratory disease).
Image credit: “Young coal worker in Linfen (Shanxi, China)” by Flickr user andi808 licensed under CC BY-NCND 2.0.
“Just as health professionals spoke out against the tobacco industry, we have a responsibility to speak out against coal projects like the Adani mine that pose such unacceptably high risks.” – Dr. Kate Charlesworth, climate councillor.
Does Lithium Mining Have Consequences?
Clean energy solutions are available now in the form of clean, reliable and affordable renewable energy and storage technology. Times are changing globally as investments in clean energy outpace fossil fuels: for every dollar invested in fossil fuels, approximately $1.70 is now invested in clean energy. Investment in solar energy is expected to overtake oil in 2023 for the first time, with low-emission technologies accounting for 90 percent of all investment in electricity generation.
Kicking coal to the curb isn’t just a good idea for our climate, it will help save lives.
For more information on coal and its impact on human health, please see ” Risky Business: Health, Climate and Economic Risks at Carmichael Coalmine”. The harmful effects of mining remain a challenge for society to recognize and deal with. Sustainability reports tend to focus on how responsible companies are in making positive contributions and managing ESG risks. And the term ‘ESG risks’ has become a euphemism for the potential harmful effects of mining. In connection with the energy transition, industry players now refer to “green” mining and mining as a “future enabling” industry. Yet harmful effects of mining continue and it is necessary to call the risks for what they are: harmful to people, environments and economies of producing countries when prevention fails.
Shows that harmful impacts are not inevitable, and yet they occur worldwide, not just in jurisdictions with limited regulatory oversight. The report calls for normalization of the prevention of harmful effects across the industry.
Coal Powered The Industrial Revolution. It Left Behind An ‘absolutely Massive’ Environmental Catastrophe
How to read this chart: The terms shown in the word cloud include only those impacts identified in the study and are therefore necessarily limited to cases reported as specific events. Other impacts, such as greenhouse gas emissions or gradual pollution from acid mine drainage, are not included, as these are rarely reported as independent events within a given time frame.
This report presents the findings of RMF’s recent study of adverse economic, environmental, social and governance (EESG) impacts associated with a sample of 38 major mining companies (ie those included in the 2020 RMI report). Together, these companies account for approximately 28 percent of global mining production and together cover 18 home countries, 55 producing countries and approximately 1,000 mining sites worldwide.
This searchable document library contains approximately 260 adverse impact incident reports identified during the investigation. Many of these reports cover multiple incidents. It is possible to search for a specific text in titles, companies and subjects by using the field below. Each report summarizes the data and lists the original sources of information (450+ items taken from the public domain) which can be downloaded.
Initiation of a 2020 criminal investigation in Switzerland by Glencore over allegations of corruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Dangerous Noise Sources In Mining
Legal claims in the UK in 2020 from victims of human rights abuses at the North Mara mine in Tanzania
Reporting of 7 significant disputes relating to land use, customary rights of local communities and indigenous peoples in FY2020 (11 in FY2019)
August 2020 letter from the Yukpa Indigenous People of Cesar, Colombia asking for commitments in their favor to be implemented
Drinking water contamination, Damage to local livelihoods, Failure to respect mine closure obligations, Pollution (air, soil, water), Loss of access to water, Forced displacement
What Is Mining?
Complaints from 13 villages in 2019 against CBG over land acquisition, destruction of livelihoods and damage to the local environment
Lawsuit against Zijin subsidiary Nevson Resources in Canada for violation of human rights, forced labor and violation of 3 refugees working at Bisha Mining
Reporting of new cases of occupational diseases in the financial year 2020 (6 new cases of silicosis; 24 new cases of occupational TB; 17 new cases of noise-induced hearing loss)
Ongoing health impacts for a community in Peru in 2020 after a mercury spill occurred 20 years ago
Harmful Impacts Of Mining
Reporting 7 notices of violation related to permit violations, spills, releases, or other compliance matters in FY 2020 (5 in FY 2019)
Report released in 2019 by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India highlighting instances of non-compliance with environmental protection measures by Coal India
Reporting 5 environmental fines and 1 environmental penalty for non-compliance in FY2020 (6 fines in FY 2019)
MMG reported 1 environmental and 3 safety related fines at its Las Bambas operation, 1 monetary and 4 non-monetary penalties related to environmental incidents in FY 2019
Killer Coal: Just How Bad Are The Health Effects Of Coal?
Complaint in 2019 of abuse by security forces during 2018 protest at a mine site in Guinea
Ongoing issues regarding indigenous community Fuerabamba protest against Las Bambas over land dispute and compensation resulted in rights activists being arrested and injured
Serious injury to community members, Serious threats, Attacks on human and land rights defenders, Violations of the rights of indigenous peoples, Forced displacement
Reporting of 18 high impact work-related injuries for employees and 7 for contractors (FY2019: 22 for employees and 9 for contractors)
Water Pollution Effects From Mining Require Environmental Characterization.
Killed and injured in 2019 at Porgera mine due to clashes between illegal miners and police security providers in Porgera
The legal case against 19 members of indigenous communities for the 2015 protest against the Las Bambas mine and clashes with the police
Newcrest Mining reported 1 community fatality at Lihir mine due to transport bus accident returning to mine site in FY 2020
Worker mortality, Child labor, Drinking water contamination, Damage to local livelihoods, Serious injuries to workers, Pollution (air, land, water), Unsafe working conditions, ASM miners
Visualizing The Importance Of Environmental Management In Mining
Damages to be paid in 2020 to the family of a deceased person in Zambia related to toxic sulfur dioxide fumes
21 deaths in 2019 when a truck transporting sulfuric acid to the Mutanda mine (RDC) spilled its contents. Coal mining, the process of extracting coal from the earth, is a common economic activity around the world. Coal is removed in a number of ways including: contour mining, strip mining and mountaintop removal. After undergoing a cleaning process, coal is typically burned to produce electricity. The coal industry has a significant negative environmental impact on land, water and air. It is responsible for producing pollution such as ash, sludge, slurry, arsenic, mercury, uranium and other heavy metals that pollute the air and waterways.
In addition, coal processing has a negative effect on human health. The World Health Organization reports that 1 million lives are shortened each year due to the impact of the coal industry. In the United States alone, about 24,000 deaths are caused by burning coal on an annual basis. This article takes a closer look at the environmental impact of the coal industry.
As previously mentioned, coal mining and processing is responsible for contributing a significant
From Canadian Coal Mines, Toxic Pollution That Knows No Borders
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