Feedback
News
gallery

Coal dependence darkens Poland’s skies

Poland is the second-largest coal producer and consumer in all of Europe and consequently one of the most polluted and polluting countries.

Poland, Silesia Region. September 2009. Coal Mine '"Adamow", Turek. A special machine built to extract brown coal. Coal Mine '"Adamow" in Turek is mining 4.5-5.0 million Mg per year, extracting a quantity of carbon of approximately 32-34 million m3 and overburden and pumped about 92 million m3 water. From all fossl fuels brown coal is one that has the biggest impact on climate change and in the same time its exploatation makes huge destroyment in environment. Coal mining has wide-reaching effects on local water resources. Tremendous volumes of water are required for mining operations. Often, land areas as well as rivers are drained to get coal out of the ground and consequently whole water bodies disappear. When coal is excavated from deep underground, groundwater is pumped out to dry up the areas being mined. Removing vast amounts of water often drains water from an area beyond the immediate coal-mining environment. As a consequence, water tables are lowered, natural ecosystems are damaged. Pep Bonet

The Adamow mine in Turek pumps about 92 million cubic meters of water every year to help extract its brown coal. Of all fossil fuels, brown coal has the largest impact on climate change, in addition to the environmental impact of getting it out of the ground.

While gaps in climate science exist, leading some to question the degree of mankind’s impact as well as whether anything should be done, most governments as well as the science academies of the U.S. and other industrial nations agree that mankind is a significant factor and that greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced.

Pep Bonet

Miners change shifts at a mine in Zabrze, Poland. Mining certainly poses risks, but it also provides 100,000 jobs in Poland.

Pep Bonet

Miners at a site near Zabrze work 2,500 feet below ground.

Pep Bonet

The Adamow mine in Turek has survived while others have been closed down in recent years. Poland has been reluctant to force the coal industry to invest billions of dollars to try to clean up smokestack emissions, fearful it would drive up electricity costs to consumers.

For more information on this project go to Consequences by NOOR

Pep Bonet

This waste pond is used by a coal-fired power plant near Konin, Poland.

Coal mining has wide-reaching effects on water resources. Tremendous volumes of water are required for mining operations. Often, land areas as well as rivers are drained to get coal out of the ground, and consequently whole bodies of water disappear.

When coal is excavated from deep underground, groundwater is pumped out to dry up the areas being mined. Removing vast amounts of water often drains water from an area beyond the immediate coal-mining environment. As a consequence, water tables are lowered, and ecosystems are damaged.

Pep Bonet

A miner surfaces after a day's shift 2,500 feet below ground near Zabrze.

Pep Bonet

The Belchatów power plant is the largest in Poland, supplying almost 20 percent of the nation’s energy. Each year its chimneys belch more than 31 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Pep Bonet

These residents of Bytom pass near a power plant built in 1920, which was among the largest in Europe in the 1930s. Now used for a few months each year, it is slated to close down for good in 2015.

Share your thoughts about these slideshows and climate change.

Pep Bonet

This miner works above ground at a site near Zabrze.

With reserves estimated to tap out by 2020, Poland has been moving away from coal. The number of active mines has dropped from 70 in 1989 to 31 in 2008. The work force has shrunk from 400,000 to some 100,000.

For more information on this project go to Consequences by NOOR

Pep Bonet