Methane is a leading contributor to climate change. Although its effect is higher than that of other gases such as Carbon Dioxide, methane does not receive the necessary attention. The question of where the gas comes from forms a foundational element in discussing how to contain it and its impact on the environment. The occurrence of this gas is either due to natural elements such as the decay of organic material or human activity. Here, we highlight top 5 Methane sources.
Methane Emissions from Animals
Ruminant animals produce a lot of Methane due to the presence of microorganisms that depend on the composition of the feed the animal gets. Since its production is inevitable, watching the food allows one to control the amount produced. For instance, while sheep can produce 30 litres, cows can produce 200 litres. This is a significant problem both for greenhouse emissions and farmers since it leads to massive loss since the feed isn’t converted to meat or milk which would be profitable. The decomposition process of manure also produces methane due to the significant presence of carbon content.
This production of methane continually rises due to the increased demand for meat and dairy products. The amount produces daily grows with the rapid growth in the market. The idea of carefully monitoring what these animals consume becomes impossible due to the rearing methods introduced to increase meat and dairy production.
There are two alternatives to help curb the excessive production of methane through this method. These are the alteration of feeds to reduce the ones converted to methane or increasing the percentage, which contributes to milk and meat production. Alternatively, the balance of feed composition ensures equal production. Some farmers opt for methane inhibitors that limit the activity or kill the microorganisms.
Methane Emissions from Plants
While plants are highly beneficial in the production of necessary gases such as oxygen and in that they take in carbon monoxide, there is a need for concern about their contribution to the creation of methane. This might be a cause for concern since, for most part, plants contribute to curbing climate change. This recent discovery shows that they also contribute to greenhouse emissions.
The most significant source of plant methane is submerged plants that lack oxygen. These can be those in swamps, rivers, or other large water bodies. However, plants on the ground surface make methane. As they take in carbon dioxide and releases oxygen, they also emit methane to the atmosphere, which is somewhat counter-productive.
The discovery that plants release methane to the environment has come with numerous concerns from scientists. There are questions about the process that leads to the production of methane in an aerobic environment.
Trees in tropical wetlands top the highest producers of methane. This discovery now informs projects directed towards reforestation. This is because, despite the knowledge that trees contribute to greenhouse emissions, their perks outweigh the bad.
Methane Emissions from Coal Mining
Methane is naturally produced during the production of coal. During mining, it is released from the seams, and some of it is deposited back into the rock strata. In some cases, erosion and faulting might cause the release of methane. The amount increases with age and depth. This means that most of the methane released through coal mining is as a result of underground mining more than surface mining.
Methane Emissions from Waste Water
Water contaminated with human, agricultural, or agricultural waste is a prospective energy source that most people do not understand. If it is properly used, the possibilities are endless. While a small group benefits from the use of wastewater as an energy source, large populations gain from the treatment process that makes it clean and usable.
This is a perk since reusing is a great contributor to environmental conservation. However, large scale attempts to treat it leads to increased production of methane gas which is terrible for the climate. Different forms of waste produce varying levels of methane. For most treatment plants, the process of determining which ones lead to more production is a task that informs operation.
Methane Emissions from Crude Oil and Refined Oil Products
The processes of producing, processing, and transporting oil and natural gas leads to emissions that are dangerous to the environment. The methane produced in this case is as a result of all production, conventional and unconventional, the collection and finally the methods used in distribution to consumers. Most of these emissions are accidental. For instance, if there are faulty seals and broken or leaking valves.
However, there are instances where the emissions are intentional in that they are as a result of equipment and facility design. Although this is a significant source of methane, it produces less than coal, significantly.
Sources of Methane Gas in Our Atmosphere
Accumulation methane in an area could lead to the need for evacuation. This, however, is an expected occurrence in locations surrounding a mine. It is crucial to ensure that the production of methane is critically analyzed and the overall effect on the environment assessed. This gas has great potential of causing massive damage to the climate. The amount of this gas in the atmosphere is not directly dangerous to human health. Since enclosure in an environment filled with the gas leads to suffocation, it is safe to conclude that more of it will be harmful to people’s health. its high capacity for heat absorption is a threat to the existence of all living things.