Hydraulic fracking, also referred to as hydraulic fracturing is one among the procedures that have prominently been associated with negative impacts both on the economy and the environment. While different stakeholders perceive the effects differently, we are going to focus on the effects of the extractive procedure with regard to the environment. Speaking of the environment, water, air and human health are given prominence (Capitol.Net, Inc, 2010). While the effects of hydraulic fracturing have been the topic of main political concerns in most countries across the world today, people do not fully comprehend what the procedure entails. For the purposes of reading from the same page, hydraulic fracturing is the process of enhancing the size of faults in the strata of rocks below the surface, with an objective of accessing some minerals, usually fluids and gases from beneath the surface of the earth. Research proposes that the stakeholders and sponsors perceive the economic and environmental impacts differently yet they are not to be perceived lightly because according to research, hydraulic fracturing has serious negative impacts on the environment. The key points to be addressed are air quality, contamination of water and health impacts.
According to scientific research, air quality is one among the aspects of the environment most impacted on by hydraulic fracturing gases. The hydraulic gases, mainly methane and carbon dioxide affect the quality of air in such a way that the people in the neighborhood cannot escape the negative effects of the same. The most prominent effects associated with poor air quality are the element of diseases and other conditions that impact on the people in the area. Scientists have discovered health hazards associated with high levels of carcinogens like benzene, tetrachloroethene, and 1-4 dichlorobenzene (National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (U.S.), Geological Survey (U.S.)., & U.S. National Committee for Rock Mechanics, 1983). Such gases have been prominently associated with diseases that affect the lungs and blood stream. Other conditions such as asthma have as well been connected with such hydraulic gases. Air quality, currently a key aspect of concern to many environment-based bodies, should be treated with utmost significance. Increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cause the green house effect adding to global warming and the hazardous heat wave that is adversely affecting populations across Europe. CO2 is as well associated with depletion of the ozone layer, something that has been a key concern globally.
Contamination of water
In point of fact, ground water is at risk, when an organization uses hydraulic fracturing because, the fluids used are likely to affect the water in the spaces between rock strata. The water, whose quality affects plants and animals living under the ground, comes with wide ranging effects on the environment, especially the flora and fauna, both terrestrial and aquatic. Research shows that water supply is as well affected when the hydraulic fractures are being developed. Water supply to municipalities can at times be cut short affecting various activities, both industrial and domestic (Yew, 1997). Notably, the water supply impacts on the power generation industry. Apparently, the power generation industry relies greatly on the supply on water. Scientific research reveals that methane gas has serious impacts on the quality of water, especially water that is found between the rock strata. Speaking of water, acidic rain is one among the results of polluted air. The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere combines with rain to form acidic water that corrodes roofs and other metallic surfaces.
This is among the most serious results of poor air quality and water contamination. Water contaminated with methane gas causes various diseases and conditions on the health of human beings and animals alike. Carcinogenic gases have been identified as the worst air and water pollutants in as far as disease causation is concerned.
In conclusion, it is important to note that from the foregoing, hydraulic fracturing has serious negative effects on the environment. Among the main aspects of the environment affected by such processes are air quality, water, and human and animal health. In order to curb the negative effects of the process, it is recommended that the local authorities and key government agencies enforce legislation to that effect. This is a long term strategy that should adopt such legislative tools as land use zoning. Land use zoning is the appropriation of land use in such a manner that such procedures as hydraulic fracturing take place far away from the residential areas, where they are likely to bring adverse effects.
Three effective potential questions
1. What, apart from legislation can be an effective solution to the problems associated with fracking?
2. Are there more negative effects on the environment?
3. Are there any positive implications of hydraulic zoning on the environment?
Effective planned response to each of the potential questions.
- Scientific research should come up with alternatives to the procedure since there is no empirically proven solution as per now. Among the scientific solution to be implemented are such efforts as the endeavors to have scientifically viable predictions of the effects of hydraulic fracking. Researchers suggest that science should seek to find ways of improving the air quality such as green spaces (Yew, 1997).
- There are many other negative impacts, especially those associated with air quality. Apart from air quality, Yew (1997) explains that there are economic implications of the effects of hydraulic fracking. Such negative effects slow down such processes as economic growth and development. The economy is affected through a number of ways, top among them being such factors as health costs and environmental upgrading costs.
- Speaking from the point of view of an environmentalist, there are no positive impacts at all. This is rather obvious, especially considering that all the effects of hydraulic fracking are negative.
Capitol.Net, Inc. (2010). Energy. Alexandria, VA: Capitol.Net, Inc.
National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (U.S.), Geological Survey (U.S.)., & U.S. National Committee for Rock Mechanics. (1983). Hydraulic fracturing stress measurements: [proceedings of a workshop, December 2-5, 1981]. Washington, D.C: National Academy Press.
Yew, C. H. (1997). Mechanics of hydraulic fracturing. Houston, Tex: Gulf Pub. Co.