Sources of Environmental Pollution
Fossil Fuel Sources of Environmental Pollution
Fossil Fuel Pollution
In modern industrialized societies, fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal) transcended virtually all imaginable barriers and firmly established themselves in our everyday lives.
Not only do we use fossil fuels for our obvious everyday needs (such as filling a car), as well as in the power-generating industry, they (specifically oil) are also present in such products as all sorts of plastics, solvents, detergents, asphalt, lubricating oils, a wide range of chemicals for industrial use, etc. (8)
Combustion of fossil fuels produces extremely high levels of air pollution and is widely recognized as one of the most important “target” areas for reduction and control of environmental pollution.
Fossil fuels also contribute to soil contamination and water pollution. For example, when oil is transported from the point of its production to further destinations by pipelines, an oil leak from the pipeline may occur and pollute soil and subsequently groundwater. When oil is transported by tankers by ocean, an oil spill may occur and pollute ocean water.
Of course, there are other natural resources whose exploitation is a cause of serious pollution; for example, the use of uranium for nuclear power generation produces extremely dangerous waste that would take thousands of years to neutralize.
But there is no reasonable doubt that fossil fuels are among the most serious sources of environmental pollution.
Power-generating plants and transport are probably the biggest sources of fossil fuel pollution.
Common sources of fossil fuel pollution are: (9)
• Power-generating plants
• Petroleum refineries
• Petrochemical plants
• Production and distribution of fossil fuels
• Other manufacturing facilities
• Road transport (motor vehicles)
• Shipping industry
Fossil fuel combustion is also a major...