Erika Škvareková, Marianna Tomašková, Gabriel Wittenberger and Štefan Zelenák
The purpose of this article is to determine the environmental impacts of underground gasification on the population and to analyze the risk of underground coal gasification (UCG) activities using selected risk assessment methods. Coal gas is a regular part of coal deposits and its extraction also allows the use of coal deposits that cannot be extracted by traditional methods. These technologies bring both positive and negative aspects. The paper points out the risk analysis, hazard identification and assessment during the operation of UCG technology using a risk graph and a risk matrix. Identified risks to workers that cannot be reduced should be taken into consideration and appropriate safeguard should be used. For each risk, it is necessary to inform employees about regular education and training. From worldwide experience with this technology, it is possible to analyze risks in Slovakia. Actual gasification produces polluting gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide, hydrogen sulphide, nitrogen oxides, tar and ash, and creates a risk that may occur on and under the surface of the site depending on the geological and hydrogeological structure of the deposits. Possible measures to mitigate the adverse effects are proposed for the implementation of this technology. Coal is still one of the main domestic primary energy sources. Currently, only 5 out of 19 deposits in the Slovak Republic are used. Underground gasification could increase the use of Slovak coal and brown coal deposits.
Air quality is an issue of general, global interest, which requires the implementation of appropriate environmental policies, taking into account the essential connection between the world economy and the environment. Air is an important natural element of the environment, vital for human life and health, as well as for fauna and flora, and it needs to be protected by all means, including legal methods.
Lately, scientific studies and researches have shown that the chemical structure of the atmosphere is changing for natural or anthropogenic causes, which requires more effective monitoring of the impact of human activity on the atmosphere, doubled by the implementation of radical measures, including legal ones, meant to insure the protection of this environmental element.
The increase in the quantity of polluting gases eliminated into the atmosphere causes global warming, destroying the ozone layer and generating other imbalances in the natural environment.
In these conditions, and since pollution knows no political-administrative borders, being a global phenomenon, there is an absolute need for international cooperation based on conventions and treatises on this topic, or directives from international bodies and organisations, and at a national level, the environmental legislation must aim to protect the air in the troposphere as well as the other elements outside the troposphere, such as the ozone layer, which is part of the stratosphere.