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A new addition to the list of polluting activities: fracking

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Imagine a different earth. Imagine an earth where most of the environment has gone untouched by the modernization of today. Natural disasters never occur because everything on this earth would work in harmony with the other. The earth would be completely unaffected by big industry and all of the pollution it brings. The amount of fresh air would overwhelm a person, while the freshwater from a spring would quench the largest of thirst. Now why would anyone ever want to live there?

Since the beginning of the modern age, man has been inventing new ways to pollute the earth. Over the years man has been quite successful in doing so. One of man’s greatest accomplishments in polluting the earth has been fracking. Fracking pollutes the earth in more ways than one. In the process of fracking, thousands of gallons of chemicals are pumped into the ground at high pressure. Shale, an impermeable layer of rock, cracks under the pressure of the chemicals in order to release natural gas (Hoffman, 2015). Fracking injects a large amount of chemicals into the ground polluting water tables, causes health issues for your least favorite in-law, as well as creates earthquakes which makes fracking a key player in pollution. The dreadful utopia of harmonization and no pollution is now a thing of the past.

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The use of toxic chemicals in fracking makes polluting the earth simple. Fracking takes full advantage of using over 600 different chemicals (Fracking faqs). However, it is not just about how many different chemicals are used; but rather, the total number chemicals used in the process. For every time a gas well is fracked, over 40,000gallons of chemicals are used (Hoffman, 2015). The number of chemicals used in the fracking process is an accomplishment in its own right; however, fracking takes the process of polluting the earth to another level. A well can be fracked up to 20 times, which increases the amount of toxic chemicals to 800,000 gallons per fracking site. (Hoffman, 2015) Currently in the United States alone there are over 500,000 active gas wells, this brings the total number of toxic chemicals up to 400 billion gallons (Number of Producing Gas Wells, 2015).To put 400 billion gallons into perspective, an Olympic sized swimming pool holds 660,000 gallons of water (Water Trivia Facts, 2015). 400 billion gallons of toxic chemicals would fill over 600,000 Olympic sized swimming pools.

When it comes to polluting the earth, fracking is not just about the amount of chemicals that are pumped into the earth, fracking is also about quality, or rather a lack there of. The fracking industry only likes to use top of the line chemicals, the top of the toxic shelf. According to Gas Land the movie, “scientists analyzing fracked fluid have identified volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene; all of which, pose significant dangers to human health and welfare” (Fracking faqs). Fracking not only uses chemicals that are harmful to the earth but also uses chemicals that have significant dangers to humans, in which case it is a two birds with one stone scenario.

Not only does fracking exist for pumping gallons upon gallons of toxic chemicals into the ground, it also does wonders to pollute the water supplies that we use on a daily basis. The toxic chemicals are being pumped into the well at high pressure which then causes the shale rock to crack. According to Joe Hoffman, “Scientists found methane contamination of drinking water associated with shale-gas extraction. Average and maximum methane concentrations in drinking-water wells increased with proximity to the nearest gas well” (Hoffman, 2015). Conveniently people no longer desire clean drinking water, and seem to be quite satisfied with contaminated water.

Certainly there is no point in going through all of this trouble polluting the earth without it affecting the organisms that live here. Now that the top shelf toxic chemicals have been pumped into the ground and leaked into the water supply, those who drink from the water supply will start to develop health issues. The toxic chemicals being pumped into the ground are known to cause short term illness, cancer, organ damage, as well as numerous other health issues (Hoffman, 2015). Illness is just another victory for fracking.

Now that fracking has caused ground pollution, water pollution, and has even resulted in major health issues, it also causes earthquakes. According to Hoffman, “Scientists refer to the earthquakes caused by the injection of fracking wastewater underground as ‘induced seismic events.’ Although most of the earthquakes are small in magnitude (the strongest measured 5.2), their relationship with the storage of millions of gallons of toxic wastewater does little to ease the fears over fossil energy’s long list of externalities” (Hoffman, 2015). Earthquakes can be quite damaging to the environment which means even greater success to fracking.

Fracking is clearly one of the most effective way to pollute the earth. Soon enough man will no longer need new ways to pollute the earth because fracking will have successfully done so. No longer will people have to fear living in the dreadful utopia where everything is in harmony with everything else. Fracking has successfully injected toxic chemicals into the ground at large quantities that grow larger with every new well. The process has poisoned the water supply with harmful chemicals, caused earthquakes, and made sick that damn in-law who has cheated one to many times during game night.


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