Why Coal is a Problem
Coal mining has many impacts on the ecological environment, including the occupation and destruction of land resources; the occurrence of geological disasters; destruction of water resources; damage to the stability of ecosystems; and biodiversity loss.
It also causes enormous environmental pollution, including atmospheric, water, and solid waste pollution.
Coal is transported by rail, truck, water, and slurry pipeline or conveyer belt. Environmental impacts of coal transport occur during loading, en route, or during unloading with environmental impacts on agriculture, forestry, horticulture, and aquaculture caused predominantly by dust emissions.
Burning coal releases toxins and emits hazardous air pollutants that can spread for hundreds of kilometres. Pollutants include particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, mercury and arsenic.
Burning coal emits large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Coal is composed almost entirely of carbon, so burning coal unleashes massive amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. These emissions increase the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere and accelerate global warming.
Image above: Two big waste heaps near the old abandoned coal mine. Rostov-on-Don region, Russia.