Environmental problems caused from methane

Updated February 21, 2017

Methane is not considered toxic, but being a primary component of natural gas, it can lead to explosions. Methane is colourless and constitutes about 50 per cent of landfill gas. Methane has an atmospheric lifespan of about 12 years and, as a greenhouse gas, is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Potency concentrations are determined by the input and removal rate of a gas.

Water Contamination

Methane from gas wells can seep into water supplies and contaminate wells. Deaths have been caused by exploding wells and by contaminated drinking water systems poisoned by this odourless, tasteless gas.


Methane emissions can seep up through the ground and cause problems for the environment and humans in particular. Many businesses place fans beneath buildings where methane emissions have been discovered. The emissions don't just propose a danger for flammability; the methane emissions can cause headaches and dizziness in humans as it replaces the oxygen. The result could be suffocation.

Climate Change

Methane contributes to climate change. It is a potent contributor to global warming due to its ability to trap warm air. Methane thrives via man-made sources and natural conditions, such as wastewater, landfills, wetlands, rice cultivation, marine sediment, ruminant livestock and more.

Oceanic Changes

When methane is involved in the process that moves carbon into and out of the ocean, it forces a change and directly affects that climate and the life within that system.

Vegatation Changes

When methane is involved in the process that moves carbon into and out of vegetation zones that are climate and/or weather dependent, it forces a change and directly affects the vegetation growth and the life that requires that vegetation to exist within that system.

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About the Author

As a former elementary school teacher, Cheryl Starr now writes full-time from Missouri. Her work has appeared in various magazines, including "Teachers of Vision," "Insight" and "Highlights." She is currently writing a novel and a devotional book. Starr studied elementary education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.