Natural resources are something that comes from the natural environment such as air,water or water power, watercourses, wetlands, lakes, sunlight, wind energy,topsoil,soil, fossil fuels like natural gas, petroleum, coal, natural vegetation,timber, forests, minerals like diamonds, copper, gold, silver, iron, animals like salmon, deer, whales, etc. Now all these resources are quite beneficial to us. Some of these resources are renewable whereas others are non-renewable. But did you ever notice the harmful effects of these natural resources? Yes, these resources have got some adverse effect as well. Do you want to know how the environment is getting affected by these resources? Let me explain.
- Coal: Coal is at the top of the list. This is a renewable fossil fuel and has got many advantages. Almost every industry like the iron and steel industries are dependant on coal only. Hence coal is the backbone of such industries. We can’t think our life without coal. But this coal is very harmful to the environment as well. Coal leads to air pollution because power plants mainly fired by coal emit harmful compounds like nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, heavy metals and particulate matter (PM). These chemicals lead to toxins in the environment, acid rain, smog and numerous respiratory, cerebrovascular, and cardiovascular problems.
Coal energy is also a huge contributor towards climatic change. In America, one-third of Carbon Dioxide is emitted from coal-fired power plants. Black carbon resulted from incomplete coal combustion is the major contributor towards climate change.
The outflow of the acidic water also known aa Acidic Mine Drainage from the coalmines is yet another harm on the environment.
- Fossil Fuels: Other fossil fuels have also got some adverse effect on the environment. The burning of fossil fuels emit gases that lead to global warming. Fossil fuels release gases like Methane, Carbon Dioxide which is generated from burning of fuels in our homes or at power plants. These are the major cause of addition of greenhouse gases into the environment, leading to global warming.
- Wind Energy: The impact of wind power plants on the environment is relatively less. But still, some concern must be there as birds’ and bats’ mortality rate is increasing due to their entry into the rotors. The moving rotator also creates noise pollution, visual impact etc. Some other concerns like since wind turbines don’t use combustion for generating electricity, they do not spoil air by producing air emissions. Instead, a little potentially hazardous and toxic materials like insulating and hydraulic fluids and lubricating oils are released into the surface water or soil and contaminate them. This may lead to soil and water-borne health issues. Wing generators, like other electrical generators, produce magnetic and electric fields.
Minerals: The major environmental effects caused by minerals are due to mining and processing them which may further lead to pollution, subsidence, destruction of land, energy, impact on the biological environment, long-term supply of mineral resources. Hence mining and processing of several mineral resources have some impacts on air, water, land, and some other biological resources.