Conventional coal mining, processing and transportation practices scar the landscape and pollute the water, which harms people and ecosystems. The most destructive mining techniques clear forests and blast away mountaintops. The "overburden" removed when a coal seam is uncovered is typically dumped into nearby valleys, where it often buries rivers and streams. Strip-mining operations rip apart ecosystems and reshape the landscape. Although regulations require land reclamation in principle, it is often left incomplete. As forests are replaced with nonnative grasslands, soils become compacted and streams contaminated.
Underground mining can cause serious problems on the surface. Mines collapse and cause land subsidence, damaging homes and roads. Acidic mine drainage caused by sulfur compounds leaching from coal waste into surface waters has tainted thousands of streams. The acid leachate releases heavy metals that foul groundwater.
Was this article helpful?
The solar Stirling engine is progressively becoming a viable alternative to solar panels for its higher efficiency. Stirling engines might be the best way to harvest the power provided by the sun. This is an easy-to-understand explanation of how Stirling engines work, the different types, and why they are more efficient than steam engines.