How does mining affect the atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere?
- Pollutes the air with dust. This affects wildlife and creates poor air quality in the area.
- When coal is burned it releases many harmful chemicals into the air, such as methane (greenhouse gas) and contributes to global warming
- Destroys plant and animal habitats (kills plants, destroys resources that animals use) and causes animals to leave or die (read more about mining and biodiversity here)
- The release of chemicals is harmful to humans and causes many deaths (eg. mercury, which harms entire food chains)
- Mountaintop removal, where tops of hills and mountains are removed to reveal coal.
- A great deal of soil and land is removed, permanently altering the landscape (read about mining and erosion here)
- Chemicals produced dissolve in nearby lakes/rivers and spread,
contaminating water (read about water pollution and mining here )
- Destroys aquifers (underground freshwater)
More detailed information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_the_coal_industry#Impact_to_land_and_surroundings