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Contribution to the discussion about brown coal burning: Effects of brown coal ash and FGD gypsum on ecosystems. Ways to a better understanding of human influence on environment

Author: Horst Bannwarth

Abstract: Criticisms of brown coal burning fall mostly under the aspect of its contribution to emission of carbon dioxide CO2 and subsequently to the climate problematic. Moreover brown coal mining and coal combustion have a bad image, largely because of the landscape destruction and the possible environmental pollution caused by heavy metals, the most common of which is mercury. On a contrary note, this contribution, points out the positive effects of minerals in lignite coal ashes and gypsum from desulphurization plants (FGD gypsum) on environment and health in order to get a better understanding of the influence of human beings on the environment, the concept of human action, responsibility and care. The idea of “biomimetic” use of natural resources for energy supply and for re-cultivation, harmonized and adapted on natural conditions that include carbon recycling and recycling of minerals has also been proposed. Results and conclusions were obtained through a combination of simple experiments, investigations and observations. Students were encouraged to construct their own concept of understanding. These ways are beneficial to expedite the understanding of the positive effects of ashes and FGD gypsum on plant growth and on acidic mineral deficient soils including the “self-liming effect”. The importance of the concept of “action oriented responsibility and care” in education has been emphasized.

Journal: The Journal of Health, Environment, & Education

Volume: 10

Pages: 8-21

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