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Science - Human Effects

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Introduction -
The coal industry is one of the largest industries in the world, mining an estimate of 7200Mt (Metric Tons) of coal each year. Coal can be used in many different ways to produce energy, the most common is the use of coal in coal power plants, which today produce 32% of the world’s electricity. However there are many environmental effects caused by both the mining and burning of coal. As through mining, the most common format being open-pit mining, takes up a lot of land and water. These mines collect water from agricultural or domestic supplies, thus lowering them significantly. While producing A.M.D. or Acid Mine Drainage, effective in killing plant life. In addition, large amounts of land are used disturb the environment, animals and natural resources available in the area. However, once mined the coal is sent off to such places as coal power plants, which are then combusted, creating carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere effecting the carbon cycle greatly. Overall, the process of collecting and burning coal as fuel is a very detrimental process towards both humans and the environment.
Part 1: Investigating one human activity and its effect on the natural processes
• Interaction with Global Cycles -
Coal mining has a large effect on both the water and carbon cycles. As previously mentioned coal mining operations take water sources which others rely upon. However some mines don’t work off water from above ground, but use underground water from aquifers. However, wherever coal is present, runoff can flow through and will become tainted with toxins, which may pass into creeks or the aquifers making them undrinkable. Such mines also create Acid Mine Drainage (AMD), which is a concentration of sulphide minerals, e...

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