Friday, August 12, 2011

Gas fracking - A new source of environmental pollution

Gas fracking refers to hydraulic fracturing in order to extract otherwise inaccessible shale gas. Gas fracking is currently very popular method of extraction in United States despite the very serious environmental concerns. Why exactly is gas fracking so harmful to environment?

First of all fracking fluid absorbs radioactive and toxic elements and chemicals such as arsenic out of the rock. Some of the leeched chemicals are known carcinogens.

Gas fracking can also lead to massive water pollution by poisoning water supplies. Of course, there is also a negative impact on climate change because shale gas is the form of natural gas, and natural gas is fossil fuel. Air pollution is also one of the negative consequences.

In order to frack gas millions of gallons of chemically treated water and sand are forced underground to break up rock and allow gas to flow and this is anything but a environmentally sound technology. So far there have been a number of failures and accidents that resulted in tainting drinking water.

Still, even despite these accidents and obvious environmental threat gas fracking is more popular than ever before. Shale gas already accounts for around 30% of total US natural gas production because many companies are lured by lower drilling costs, even in some areas which are not typically associated with gas production.

If shale gas continues to rise in popularity this will lead to even bigger climate change impact as more shale gas will not only mean more carbon emissions but also a slower introduction of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

World needs to come up very quickly with the effective environmental action against gas fracking. Failure to do so could lead to a series of massive environmental problems in years to come.

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