Gas flares occur to burn hydrocarbons and other combustible elements; they result from oxidation at extreme temperatures. This phenomenon typically occurs to dispose of waste products made in industrial settings. Refineries, coke ovens, oil wells and chemical mixing plants are all culprit settings of gas flares. The gases involved may be butane, natural gas, ethylene and propane. Flares can be elevated, which means that they are emitted into the air from a tall smokestack, or they could be the less common ground type that is dispensed in flare burners or steel enclosures. Flares commonly produce substantial noise and heat, and they may or may not give off smoke.
A gas flare is an elevated structure used for burning off excess gas at sites where oil or gas are being extracted or refined. While they do provide an important safety element, since they allow excess gas to be safely burned off, in developing countries they are frequently used to burn off huge amounts of natural gas associated with the extraction of oil. Since it is difficult and costly to separate the comercially viable natural gas from the oil, it turns out to be more cost effective to simply burn the gas off. However, this causes huge amounts of unnecessary pollution, particularly in the form of methane and other greenhouse gases, and can be dangerous to local residents and ecosystems. Unlike the developed world, where gas flares are only employed as a safety measure, developing countries lack proper regulations to limit gas flares, and oil companies have taken advantage of this.
Moreover, much of the natural gas that is burned could be used to produce power for human consumption. Many consider it a great injustice that many of the people in the countries most affected by natural gas flares do not themselves partake in the benefits of oil and gas production. The amount of gas wasted by gas flares could easily be used to provide power to these people, rather than destroying their homes, land and health.
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