Coal and petroleum : Consequences of over extraction of coal and petroleum


Importance of Fossil Fuel                                                                                                                                               

Fossil fuel is a natural resource and it can be defined as the organic matter obtained as a result of incomplete oxidation, high temperature and pressure for a long time and the subsequent decay of plant and animal wastes. In our modernistic world, these fuels play an important role in almost all spectrum of human life.

Fossil fuels are retrieved from the ground and offshore areas and are converted into suitable forms to produce energy. Around 90% of the electricity demand is satisfied by fossil fuels. The main concern with the increasing use of fossil fuels revolves around the damage to the environment that they cause. Some of the most commonly used fossil fuels are natural gas, coal, and petroleum. They form a major part of the non-renewable resources and have a large impact on the environment.

Harmful Effects of Non-Renewable Resources

Some environmental problems faced due to the use of non-renewable resources are as follows:

  • Increase in greenhouse gases: The greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, CFCs, etc. act as a blanket for the earth by helping it retain heat. Due to rise in the concentration of man-made greenhouse gases the average temperature of the earth is increasing. The increase in consumption of coal and petroleum is one of the major reason for an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere which has further added to the rising temperature.
  • Collection of solid wastes: Conversion of fossil fuel to energy results in the accumulation of solid wastes which have the devastating impact on the habitat. Solid wastes require land, financial support and proper monitoring which is often a neglected affair. These wastes are toxic in nature and if not disposed of properly can cause a lot of damage to the ecosystem. This endangers the vegetation, wildlife, and marine life.
  • Rise above sea level: Study has proved that man-made greenhouse emissions have lead to global warming. Due to rise in temperature, polar ice caps have begun to melt and as a result, the average sea level is rising. The rise is twice as fast as they were 150 years ago.

Debates about the contamination due to fossil fuel have become a common thing in today’s world. In order to maintain a balance in the ecosystem, proper regulatory policies need to be introduced. The increasing use of fossil fuels and the pollution caused by them in different mediums cannot be overshadowed by their utility.

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