Toxic waste from fracking

Toxic waste is a growing issue

At the present, fracking creates a high amount of waste harmful to the environment, humans, and wildlife. For the most part, there is nothing we can do to control it apart from stopping the practice completely.

Methane leaks

The most widely spread out problem associated with fracking is the so called “burning tap water”. What this means is that if you hold a lighter next to running tap water it will go up in flames. This is an already established fact and it comes from, as you would have probably guessed – fracking. Since natural gas is not found only deep underground but also in shallower layers, it’s inevitable that some gas will make it to the well water of the region where it’s being extracted from. The changes in the underground pressure can cause methane gas to migrate from areas of higher pressure to the ones with lower. Poorly sealed gas wells can as well leak methane into the surrounding environment. These poorly sealed wells come from human errors, which the gas companies simply choose to ignore and with money in their pockets – the media as well. This is also not uncommon to see on abandoned wells, with no one left to maintain them. However, it should be noted that none of this is a direct result of fracking, but of negligence of those in charge.

Chemicals used

fracking chemicals

List of all chemicals used, such as potassium hydroxide

While the main chemical pumped into the ground is water (around 98%), the other 2% consist of many different chemicals that are considered toxic and harmful to both humans and environment alike. Hydrochloric acid, boric acid and many others, along with things like ammonium, corrosion inhibitors and guar gum can get out of control and directly into our water supply. It is a known fact that the very same chemicals they pump into our ground can cause cancer, infertility and birth defects. You can see a full list of chemicals used in this process (which must be disclosed by law), here. There are also reports that the water taken from the areas where fracking is done has higher levels of toxic, hormone-disrupting substances when compared to water from other regions. While these reports are troubling, it should be noted that the water that we drink is already at risk from many other pollution sources and, in most industrialized regions of the world, already contains high-risk substances, although in quantities that are currently deemed acceptable by the authorities.

While fracking may be banned from some countries, others like the United States and Russia continue to use this method and do so with undoubtedly enormous success. Fracking, like many other technologies, has a broad economic and political significance, which will not let it die out so easily, even at the expenditure of our environment and lives.

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