English 2121, Sect. 03
April 17, 2013
Coal Ash Pollution Coal ash pollution is a huge issue that has been looked at many of times in the US. The disposal of coal ash has become the bigger issue here. Coal ash is the toxic by product of burning coal, and it’s the second largest industrial waste stream in the US, with trash being number one. Millions of tons of coal ash are stored in unsafe dumps that can leach heavy metals, arsenic, lead, selenium, and hexavalent chromium into ponds, landfills, abandoned mines, and ground water. When consumed, it could cause cancer and birth defects. There has never been a federal policy for coal ash disposal and state standards are often weak or non-existent. This is why coal ash disposal is such a big issue.
First of all, there are many different typed of hazards when it comes to coal ash pollution. According to the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, living near a wet coal ash storage pond is more dangerous that smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. The chemicals and toxins found in coal ash have been linked to organ disease, respiratory problems, cancer and developmental issues. Neal Fann, in the Atmosphere & Health Air Quality Article, explains that there are many different health risks are involved and it’s just not healthy. Coal dust and diesel exhaust from coal trains and cargo ships can cause serious long term health problems. The rate of asthma has even increased epically in children. Nearly 200 sites have been contaminated by coal ash in 36 different states. This is becoming a huge issue and something needs to be done. Secondly, the EPA admits that there is no end in sight for developing coal ash regulations. “Four years after publicizing failure of disposal, the EPA isn’t completing any regulations even when the initially promised within the year.” States Rudzinski from the article Waste and Materials. The EPA is failing to realize that this is a bigger issue than what is being portrayed.