Tar sands are a mixture of mostly sand, clay, water, and a thick molasses-like substance called bitumen. Bitumen is made of hydrocarbons and is used to produce gasoline and other petroleum products.
Oil sands are loose sand deposits that contain a very viscous form of petroleum. Converting the extracted tar sands into usable fuel is it consumes a lot of water and energy and it can create pollution in the environment.
Pros of Tar Sands
- It fits into the existing systems
As bitumen can be changed to crude oil easily, it fits in the system as it provides energy. It provides an alternative to energy and this makes the country not to depend on one source of energy.
- It can lead to land preservation
Some of the lands reclaimed in Canada it has been enabled through the use of money obtained from the crude oil hence beneficial to many people. The land can be used for agricultural purposes and this will enhance the production of enough food for the country.
- The recipients of tar sand experience economic benefit
People who work in tar sands are able to ask for more salaries as there are a few people working in the companies hence improving their economy and the living standards.
- They can repair environmental changes
The materials that are removed from the ground can be kept in order for it to be returned once they have completed removing the bitumen hence easy to repair the environment.
- It is a relatively stable source of energy
As compared to other sources of energy, tar sands are relatively stable. It continues to be mined keeping people who work there to have a reliable source of income. It is not an unlimited resource.
- It improves the economy of the country
The countries where the resources were found have proved to experience economic improvement. This has made the United States become less dependent on foreign countries for the sources of energy.
- Provides job opportunities to the people
People who are employed there are able to earn a living from the money paid to them hence able to improve their living standards.
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Cons of Tar Sands
- It increases the emissions in the environment
As bitumen is mined, it is exposed to steam so that it can be softened and allowed to be pumped into the processor. Through this process, some gases are emitted to the environment and they can lead to problems to human beings as they inhale the gases.
- It requires a lot of water
As bitumen is exposed to steam, there has to be water that is heated to produce steam so that it can be exposed to bitumen hence requires more water.
- Leakages can be harmful to human beings and other animals
There is a possibility that the tar sands can leak into the environment and this may cause harm to human beings hence not secure to the health of human beings.
- It has toxic waste products
The waste products from the mines are highly toxic and this may cause diseases to human beings and other animals which may lead to death hence not conducive for human beings and other animals.
- Dependence on the resource may lead to shortages in future
If other sources of energy are not discovered, this may lead to shortages of energy in the future and this may make the United States still go back to dependence from other foreign countries which may turn out to be expensive to the country.
- Extracting bitumen is carbon-intensive
As the resources are deeper it leads to more extraction and the long separation process results to the emission of carbon elements to the environment and this may cause problems to human beings which may need a lot of money in treating the diseases.
- Cutting down of trees to access the resource
This leads to deforestation that may cause insufficient rain in the area. The trees are cut down for the resources that are underground to be reached and this may lead to problems that come about with deforestation.
- Pollution of the environment
The environment is polluted in the process of extracting the bitumen and this may cause harm to the surroundings hence not really good source of energy.
- Destruction of natural habitats of animals
As the trees are cut down, there is the destruction of animals’ homes and also the animals that live underground are not as safe as their habitats are also destructed in the cause of mining.
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Tar sands are good sources of energy but the problems that come along with the mining of the tar sands should be addressed so that it cannot affect other living organisms. The main aim of mining was good and it has really improved the economy but the drawbacks are to be looked in to.