Coal Mining in Appalachia

Paper Type: 
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1232 Words
Date:  2021-03-13

Appalachia is a region that is located on the eastern side of the United States and that stretches from the southern parts of New York to the northern regions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia (Pond, Gregory et al., 717). In this region, there are several mountains that are famously known as the Appalachian Mountains. These constitute to more than 470 peaks located in the south of Appalachia and which are some of the oldest the world has ever seen. It is in these mountains where the United States is conducting a mountaintop removal of coal for the purpose of producing electricity. Mountaintop removal of coal in those mountains entails the destruction of the nearby forest cover and the magnificent swaths of Appalachia (Pond, Gregory J., et al, 719).

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The beautiful mountains that constitute one of the oldest mountainous places in the world are being blasted and the nearby forests being destroyed. Vast areas that are habitats for wild animals have been destroyed. Specifically, the diverse forests that are located in the northern parts of America have been obliterated. Notably, the debris that results from the mountaintop mining in the form of mining wastes is dumped into streams (Bernhardt, Emily et al., 8115). The blown up mountains formed the worst destruction of the environment. Specifically, the damage changes the landscape while the use of heavy equipment causes the shuddering of the earth, cracking the foundations of the nearby houses. From the figures given by the government, around 1.8billion pounds of explosives were deployed in the surface mining operations in Kentucky and West Virginia (Hendryx, Michael, 243). The biological diversity that once was the source of tourist attraction has been depleted. Succinctly, the Appalachian coal fields have brought more harm than good.

Humans affect the environment when they relate to it. Specifically, humans are the most intellectual creatures in the ecosystem. Therefore, instead of taking other components of ecosystem just as important, humans use them for their benefits and in an unsustainable manner. The environment is affected by actions that do not have respect for the environment. For instance, in the coal mining in the Appalachian Mountains, human actions of destroying the mountain as well as the forests surrounding them constitutes an adverse effect on the environment. Additionally, the destruction of forests threatens the existence of wildlife who are parts of the environment. Further, the dumping of the debris on streams threatens their existence as this changes the flow of the rivers.

The effects that humans have on the environment are brought about by a variety of factors. Mining is one of these factors. Specifically, the need to make profits causes humans to destroy the environment. In the mining of coal in the Appalachian Mountains, the reason as to why people are destroying the landscape and the mountains as well as wildlife is to gain additional megawatts of electricity. Human beings rely on the environment for their existence. Notably, the environment, in this case, refers to the forests, the land and the animals that are the habitats of those forests. The human environment interaction for the purpose of mining only serves to benefit people in the short term while destroying the environment.

The interaction between mankind and the environment during mining has both advantages and disadvantages. In this regard, the interaction leads to the exploitation of resources that would have others remained dormant had it not been for the initiation of the mining by humans. This exploitation brings about more power for the consumption by humans. The second benefit arises in the prevention of the environment that is done in other areas. Specifically, humans have the ability to destroy the environment and also conserve it. Mining coal and using it to produce electricity reduced the rates of carbon emissions as the use of components that produce carbon are reduced. In this way, the interaction becomes beneficial to the environment. Moreover, Human are employed in the coal mining sites and industries. However, the question remains as to whether the benefits outweigh the side effects.

There are a variety of issues that results from the interaction of humans and the environment during the mining of coal. The destruction of landscape, as well as the depletion of forests, have grievous effects on the life of wild animals who are depended on the mountains for their existence. Specifically, by destroying forests, humans chase away the animals who live in those forests. The transportation of the raw coal to the plants for washing destroys roads. Dumping the coal sludge or slurry to rivers has the effect of contaminating the water in those rivers. As a result, humans will suffer the consequences of the contaminated water. This presents a grievous danger to the health of the people. The coal mining power plants have no adequate pollution control technology. As such, they are the primary causes of air pollution. This, in turn, leads to the suffering of the nearby American citizens from asthma and other respiratory diseases. Additionally, the coal-burning power plants are recipes for the causes of global warming due to their contaminations.

One aspect of my life that relates me to the human-environment relationship during coal mining is the excessive heat that is felt due to the effects of climate change. In this regard, the use of old machines that produces a lot of emissions is one of those things that leads to global warming. If the emissions that are made by the plants are reduced, then the effects of those gases would also be reduced. The other aspect is that of human and wild animals conflict. In this regard, when the forests are destroyed, the wild animals run away from their habitats and, therefore, interacts with humans. This causes conflict between the two as they cannot live together. The drying up of wells is also another aspect that results from the interaction of the humans and the environment. Specifically, the dumping of debris changes the flow of the rivers which in turn leads to the shortage of water.

To conclude, the Appalachia Mountains located in the eastern part of the United States have been destroyed owing to the mining of coal, in the area. Specifically, the use of mountaintop mining technique has led to an unfavorable human environment interaction. Wild animals have been driven out of their habitats due to the clearance of forests. The landscape has been altered while the streams have been contaminated by the wastes in the mining of coal. However, the benefits of the interaction are the production of clean energy. Additionally, the exploitation of the mountains leads to the employment of people in the industries.

Works Cited

"Appalachian Coal Mining Faces Grim Future". USA TODAY. N.p., 2016. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

"Plundering Appalachia - The Tragedy Of Mountaintop-Removal Coal Mining :: The Issue". N.p., 2016. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

Bernhardt, Emily S., et al. "How many mountains can we mine? Assessing the regional degradation of central Appalachian rivers by surface coal mining." Environmental science & technology 46.15 (2012): 8115-8122.

Hendryx, Michael. "Mortality from heart, respiratory, and kidney disease in coal mining areas of Appalachia." International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health 82.2 (2009): 243-249.

Montrie, Chad. To save the land and people: A history of opposition to surface coal mining in Appalachia. Univ of North Carolina Press, 2013.

Pond, Gregory J., et al. "Downstream effects of mountaintop coal mining: comparing biological conditions using family-and genus-level macroinvertebrate bioassessment tools." Journal of the North American Benthological Society 27.3 (2008): 717-737.

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Coal Mining in Appalachia. (2021, Mar 13). Retrieved from

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