Turning on the lights as we walk into a dark room might be one of the most automatic acts of living in the modern industrial / post-industrial world. If we thought about the process and consequence of each act of our daily lives, we would not get out the door, much less read a book at night. Though one can’t possibly understand any of the myriad miracles of daily life, blind acceptance makes us heedless consumers, and everything does have a consequence, especially turning on a light.
Coal-fired electrical generation plant with waste ash ponds in background
Moncks Corner, SC
When making a case for something, the tendency is to cite facts and numbers, which are big, but hard to grasp. Coal plants are in operation all around the country, burn a staggering amount of coal, and release some of the most toxic stuff known, so poisonous that there is no amount safe for the human body: dioxins, furans, mercury, arsenic, chromium, and lead.
Some perspectives: burning coal releases the largest amount of uranium, and the largest amount of mercury of any source in the country, and all of that either goes into the air we breathe, or into the 200,000 tons of ash waste produced by an average power plant per year; after household garbage, the largest waste stream in the country.
Waste ash at coal-fired electricity generation plant
Coal ash is toxic as a bad marriage, but here’s the irony: there are almost no regulations on its disposal, so 爱上海419419