Air and water pollution. Climate Change. Cancer. These are all effects of the
coal industry. From the Ashes is a documentary by Michael Bonfiglio about the effects
of the coal industry on human health and the environment.
Through interviews with residents of West Virginia, Texas, and Wyoming the film
shows how coal affects people in many parts of the country. It states that coal mining is
the biggest souce of water pollution as well as the biggest contributor to climate change .
It cites examples of higher birth defects, higher, cancer rates, water pollution,
and air pollution in places where coal mining and coal fired power plants are common .
In addition, the film also stresses the danger which miners face every day. It cites a 1907
blast which killed hundreds and the 2010 explosion in which 29 miners were killed. In
Wyoming coal mines often disturb aquifers, not leaving enough vegatation for cattle.
This has brought many ranchers to join forces with those who are opposed to the coal
The film is effective at documenting both the environmental and health hazards
of coal. However, most of the interviews are with those who opposed to the industry
and the film is somewhat one-sided in this regard. In spite of the multitude of dangers
there continue to be many people who rely on coal for their livelihoood and this is an
equally important side the issue.