The following essay is concerned with the effects of natural gas drilling and health effects on the community. The essay also examines the solutions of the natural gas drilling and health effects on the community.However, it is important to first determine the meaning of natural gas before considering its effects on the community.
Natural gas refers to a gas that consists methane and its one of the main energy sources in the modern world. The natural gas simply refereed to as the gas contains Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) which is harmful as far as the people’s health is concerned. The gas is present in abundance in most parts of the United States for instance Texas, New York among other states. The gas is extracted by a method which is referring to as hydraulic fracturing and it is extracted from the underground rock through drilling the solution vigorously into the ground at extremely high pressures. The solution usually contains some poisonous substances which contaminate the groundwater and this has thus been the matter under discussion in most parts of the United States in the past few years. Many citizens in the United States have complained to the state as well as the federal agencies about the effects as a result of natural gas drilling (West Coast Offshore Exploration Environmental Assessment Panel, 1986).
Effects of natural gas drilling and health effects on the community
The natural gas drilling usually has effects on both the environment as well as the community as it affects the air, water and the soil as well as the people who live near the drilling locations. Thus the natural gas has the following effects as far as the communities are concerned; The drilling of natural gas often leads to an increase in the traffic jams.
The roads that leads to the drilling areas are usually not meant to be used by huge trucks and so their continuous use makes the roads to wear out. Much time is wasted as a result of traffic jams as the lanes are not wide enough for tracks to turn change directions easily. The drivers on the other hand usually violate the traffic laws by not maintaining a single lane and hence causing accidents. This poses danger to the residents as there are more than three accidents that are reported to have occurred in a day in the drilling locations.
In Silver Hill for instance, it is very hard for a day to end without an accident involving the drilling trucks being reported. The roads are usually left in a poor state as no repairs are done and this inconveniences the residents who live in natural gas drilling areas. For instance, the roads are barricaded during winter season as a result of multiplication of vehicles daily. This forces the local residents to look for other roads and this is quite inconveniencing as much time is wasted for wrong reasons (Epstein & Manzoni, 2006). The other effect as a result of natural gas drilling is water pollution. Huge volumes of used coal often referred to as cinder are laid down particularly during winter season so that the trucks can have some grips. During summer, the snow liquefies causing the solution to mix with the underground water.
This is dangerous because when the dust breathed, it causes such effects as damage of the nervous system as well as the organs, eye iritatation, unconsciousness, death among others. The hydraulic fracturing process also poses danger to the residents in that dust particles, water as well as chemical substances are put into the wells so as to smash the underlying rocks. When the underlying rocks are fractured, the water that was blasted returns to the wells causing the water in the wells to be salty. The salty water contains harmful chemicals which when drunk can cause serious effects. Natural gas drilling is also characterized with the problem of flaring which arises when the drilling firms burns the excess flammable vapors. This is dangerous since the natural gas contains hydrogen Sulfide which is toxic. The gas also produces detectable odor and when inhaled, it can cause death or such adverse effects as paralysis of olfactory nerve, neurophysiological abnormalities among others (Mokhatab, et.al.
2006). The negative effects of natural gas drilling contributes to falling prices of real property i.e. real estate is a spatial commodity implying that its value is directly linked to what is going on around it.Thus, the investors finds it hard to sell their properties as buyers don’t like to buy houses that are located near drilling areas due to the activities that happens there on daily basis. Usually, the people’s willingness to buy a land or a given property is influenced by such factors as location e.
t.c.Therefore; the loss of value with regards to real property in natural gas drilling locations is as a result of lack of inaccessibility. A real estate that is easily accessible, found in a good natural aesthetic, social and physical environment of good size and quality attracts more buyers. Natural gas drilling is characterized by loud noises as well as air pollution and this often causes poor health. The residents who live in natural gas drilling areas often companions about the noise that is associated with drilling. The noise usually varies in accordance with the space between the compressor and the residential area and therefore, those people who are close to the drilling location are greatly affected. The strength of the wind also makes the noise level to change and the residents can hardly sleep before they hear the loud and disturbing noise of the drilling machines.
The tracks are also a common source of noise. There are huge traffics of these tracks and they produce loud noise especially when hooting making the residents to have a feeling as though they live in an area that was meant to be an industrial zone. The residents in this area have a right to be free from unwanted noise and so the drilling companies violate their individual rights. Natural gas drilling also has adverse effects as it causes injuries to the persons who are employed in this sector.
Some of the accidents that may arise as a result of natural gas drilling includes the following; the production tanks usually explodes in the oil drilling areas and has caused death and other serious effects such as incapacitation, also the wells have been known to blowout, the heavy equipment poses a danger because it can clash someone, there are injuries associated with the unsecured ladders among others. The effects of natural gas drilling ranges from death, severe burns, blindness, deafness, limb breakages among others. The family members of these workers are greatly affected and in case of death, the children are left without anyone to care for them. Natural gas drilling has also been characterized with flash floods. These flash floods have devastating effects such as demolishing houses, destroying bridges, uprooting the trees, road damages, traffic congestion, and farmland damages among others. Thus the flash floods affect the daily activities of residents who live near the natural gas drilling locations. Flash floods also lead to loss of people’s lives and so the oil drilling companies really poses a danger upon the lives of the communities.
Natural gas drilling may also cause volcano eruptions and this is dangerous as far as people are concerned. Volcano eruptions have been known to have catastrophic and devastating effects in areas where they occur. People get killed and a high number are forced to leave their land and migrate elsewhere. The volcano eruptions also has an effects with regards to the global climate earthquakes may also result following a volcano eruption and this is really threatening as far as the communities that live near to where natural gas is drilled (James & Lahti,2004). There are numerous oil spills as well as gas leakages in the drilling areas and this has an effect of killing the aquatic life such as fish e.t.c.
once the oil drains into seas and lakes. Once the chemical solutions get into waterways as a result of the fracturing process spreads at a faster rate .This is due to the fact that the currents facilitate the solutions to spread faster. This in turn has an effect on the communities that relies on fishing as their means of livelihood. Gas leakages also causes respiratory diseases, imparing the proper functioning of the lungs as well as asthma when breathed.Also, explosions may occur as a result of natural gas exposure and this is dangerous as far as the health of someone is concerned. Natural gas drilling has been characterized by an increase in population due to the employment opportunities that the occupation generates. The rise in population has adverse effects which include the following; high population growth has the effect of increasing the prices for rented houses in places where the natural gas is drilled.
This is due to the fact that there is high demand and so the landlords are tempted to increase the prices in an effort to maximize their profits. There are also increased crimes as a result of increased population in the oil and natural gas drilling locations. Cases of rape, murder, and robbery among others are usually reported on daily basis.Also, the social amenities such as hospitals, schools, recreational grounds among others are usually given pressure.
The natural gas drilling has an effect of damaging the wildlife as a result of water pollution and this in turn causes a decline of the number of tourists. This decline implies that the government losses revenues as well as foreign exchange earnings. It also leads to massive unemployment for the local residents who are employed in the tourism sector (James & Lahti, 2004). Natural gas energy is much cleaner as compared to oil but despite this, there are greenhouse gases that are emitted in the air during the drilling process and this is harmful to the local residents. The greenhouse gas is dangerous as it is known to trap heat as well as carbon dioxide and this has an effect of causing the global warmings.This global warming have caused a reduction of fresh waters and has also seen an extinction of some of the endangered species in the world. These animal species are also forced to change their habitats implying a reduction of the number of tourists in the gas drilling areas.
The rains have also been affected implying that the farmers are not able to produce more due to persistent droughts. Many families that rely entirely on agriculture in gas drilling areas have been affected as a result. The gas leakages also causes harm with regards to plants and this thus affects the farmers who live in gas drilling areas.
The natural gas drilling can also bring about the Normally Occurring Radioactive Material commonly known as NORMS into the surface and this is harmful as far as the public health is concerned. Normally Occurring Radioactive if not handed in a proper manner can even cause deaths. Other effect as a result of Normally Occurring Radioactive Material exposure includes cancer, birth defects among others. Exposure to Normally Occurring Radioactive is dangerous as far as the communities that lives in the drilling areas are concerned due to the long term effects that it has when either ingested or inhaled (National Research Council, 2003).
Natural gas drilling also puts strain on the available healthcare services as a result of injuries that result during the drilling process. The town emergency team is usually overworked due to the job related injuries that occurs to the employees who works in the drilling sites. The noise that is produced during the drilling process often affects the school children in that it makes them to lose concentration and hence making them to attain lower grades as compared to those students who attends schools that are situated in a quiet enviroment.
Also, the patients in hospitals are greatly affected by the loud noises that are produced by the trucks as well as the drilling machines (Geological Survey, 2010).
Solution to natural gas drilling and health effects on the community
The community that lives in areas where natural gas is drilled can take the following steps in order to cope with the harmful effects of natural gas drilling; they should stop drinking the tap water due to the fact that the drilling process contaminates the ground water. As a result there is numerous chemicals that are harmful are usually spread during the fracturing process. Though bottled water is much costly, it is much safer to use it as far as the health is concerned. The residents should also find close substitutes of water such as juice. Also, they should abandon those areas that are associated with natural gas drilling. This is the most ideal way of dealing with the negative effects of natural gas drilling.
They should put priority to their health and leave these areas even if it means parting away with their familiy heritage . The government should act promptly so as to safeguard the well being of its citizens.Essentially,Federal laws have been know to exempt the oil and gas industries from such Acts as clean air, water as well as drinking water and therefore the Federal laws should be revised so as to put regulations to the gas industry. This will in turn make the gas industry to be conscious of their actions with regards to the health needs of the general public. Those gas companies that are found to have violated the rights of communities should be heavily fined and if possible their operating licenses cancelled. The local government should also make it compulsory for the truck drivers to pay taxes that will be used in repairing the roads.Usually, the trucks damages the roads making it hard for the local residents to drive on and so, the government should set up tolls for each road user. This will help to minimize the number of accidents that are associated with poor roads and also enhance efficiency and effectiveness on the roads.
The trucks number in a day should also be controlled as well as their weights so as to ensure that they don’t damage the roads (National Research Council, 2003). The government should also ensure that safety measures are put in place by the gas drilling issuing them with licenses. The government should thus refrain from issuing the oil companies with licenses until it is certain that the wellbeing of the communities is not at risk.
However, before a drilling process commences, the government should do the following; the government should come up with water as well as land guidelines that will provide the oil companies with instructions on how they should carry out their activities .This guidelines will ensure that the oil firms acts in a responsible manner as far as the public health on communities is concerned (West Coast Offshore Exploration Environmental Assessment Panel, 1986). The government should ensure that there are proper ways of handling the hazardous waste by requiring bonding for the reservoirs. Those gas companies which do not comply with this requirement should not be issued with operating licenses. Steel linings should be recommended instead of plastic ones for reservoirs that contain the drilling solutions due to the fact that plastic linings are usually not strong and can break leading to spillages and in turn contaminate the groundwater.
The government should also provide education on the effects of natural gas drilling to the communities that live in the oil drilling areas. This will enable them to fully understand the impacts and thus devise strategies on how to handle them. There should be laws that restrict the gas companies from operating near the schools or hospitals and measures should be taken on those companies that are found to be violating this law.
With regards to the declining property values, the local government should come up with plans that are aimed at increasing the demand for instance, improving the road networks in these areas, access credit at good terms to investors who wishes to buy houses these areas, lowering the cost of constriction materials among others (West Coast Offshore Exploration Environmental Assessment Panel, 1986).
Natural gas drilling poses danger with regards to the communities that lives near the sites. The effects as a result of natural gas can be felt for many years. Natural gas contaminates water thus affecting people as well as the aquatic life. It also affects the wildlife, farming lands, roads, plants among many things. Natural gas also has an effect as far as global warming is concerned. Despite the above disadvantages, natural gas drilling also has some advantages which include the following; natural gas is much cleaner as compared to other modes of energy such as fossil fuels, it provides employment to the larger communities that lives where the sites are located, it is applied in many homes for cooking among others. However, there is need for the government to put up regulations as far as drilling is concerned so as to protect its citizens from the negative effects of natural gas drilling.
The communities too should take responsibility of protecting themselves from the adverse effects of natural gas by taking such measures as choosing not to live near the gas drilling firm’s e.t.c.
Epstein, M & Manzoni, J. (2006). Performance measurement and management Control: improving organizations and society. London: Emerald Group Publishing. Geological Survey.
(2010). Bulletin – United States Geological Survey. US: The Survey publications. James, S & Lahti, T.
(2004).The natural step for communities: how cities and Towns can change to sustainable practices. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers Mokhatab, N. (2006).
Handbook of natural gas transmission and processing Chemical, Petrochemical & Process. Amsterdam: Gulf Professional Publishing National Research Council. (2003). Cumulative environmental effects of oil and Gas activities on Alaska’s North Slope.
Washington, Conational Academies Press. The University of Michigan. (1978). Oil and gas activities, Issues 13-15.
Toronto: Information-Canada. West Coast Offshore Exploration Environmental Assessment Panel. (1986).
Offshore hydrocarbon exploration. Victoria: Province of British Columbia.