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Impacts of Coal Pollution in China

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Coal in China

China is the most populous country in Asia. The Republic of China has become a major world power through its industries and technology. The growth of the country has seen the growth of many industries that contribute to the economic growth of the country. The Republic of China is currently the country that consumes coal resources the most (Reid, 1996). It is also set to be the leading consumer country of coal driven electricity. China is the leader in having coal mining. It poses a great health hazard to the Chinese people and leads to massive pollution (Thomas, 1983).

China’s heavy dependence on coal has made it to be the world’s largest country that emits carbon dioxide. This is contributed by the coal mining industries and the high population in China. Coal is mainly used for four purposes in China (Connie, 2011). It is used to generate electricity. In fact, it is the leading producer of electricity. It is also used for industrial uses (e.g. the steel industry). Coal is produced for domestic use; however, it is illegal to burn coal in cities’ and towns’ areas. The usage of coal is only permitted in the rural areas. What is more, the coal is used in homes for cooking. China also uses coal as one of the sources for trade with other countries (Maxine, 2004).

Air Pollution Through Coal

Incineration of coal releases dangerous gases which are also toxic. Some of the gases produced are sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury. Nitrogen oxide, when emitted, reacts with unstable macrobiotic compounds in order to produce fog. Nitrogen oxide also leads to the formation of soot. Soot and fog are both harmful to human health (Ricky, 2010). Nitrogen oxide acidifies lakes and water catchment areas. Sulfur dioxide leads to the formation of soot and causes respiratory diseases. Combustion of coal reveals traces of mercury that are found in coal. When coal is burned, the mercury is emitted in the environment and affects humans. While burning plants with the help of coal, fly ash and dust emit and this process leads to the air pollution. Waste products from coal emit close to twenty toxic substances of chemicals (e.g. arsenic, nickel, cadmium, molybdenum, radium, selenium, zinc, vanadium and mercury). Coal, that has weathered, increases the temperatures in the ground when they are left unattended to (Michael, 2012).

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Human Health Impact of Coal Pollution in China

Coal pollution has adversely contributed to air pollution in China in general. When coal is burned, it emits dangerous gases that pollute the air. These gases affect human beings in various ways and lead to death. The gases act on the respiratory system, causing a number of respiratory diseases (Henry, 1993). They also trigger asthma attacks, especially among children. Other respiratory diseases caused by coal pollution include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer (Scott, 2011).
Coal pollution also leads to cardiovascular effects. Long term exposure to coal pollution leads to cardiovascular mortality. It also affects the nervous system. The traces of mercury found in coal affect the nervous system causing memory loss. Because of a great amount of effects that coal pollution may bring, the rate of human death in China increases as well (Mark, 2001).

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Conclusion

China is the leading producer of coal in the world. The natural resource is used for energy purposes, domestic use and for trade with other countries. Coal mining, however, comes with its own disadvantages. Burning of coal produces dangerous gases that pose a great threat to human life. Coal pollution leads to respiratory disease and diseases that affect the nervous system. Moreover, coal pollution leads to acidic rain that contaminates water catchment areas and an increase in number of deaths.

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