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Maharashtra’s environment department alive ?

Majority of the coal producing states are found in the eastern part of India comprising part of Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal. Jharkhand is the largest coal producing state in the coun­try followed by Orissa, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra

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India’s coal imports are expected to jump 19 percent to a record of about 200 million tonnes this fiscal year as power companies add capacity to meet rising demand even as millions go without electricity.

Coal production as well as transport by trains or by trucks all have a large impact on the environment. India being a developing country has a larger hunger of energy which is mainly satisfied by coal. Coal India Ltd.is world’s largest coal miner.

It produced 494.24 MT (million tonne) coal during FY 2014-15. Coal India operates through 81 mining areas in eight states in India. As on 1 April 2015, It has 430 coal mines out of which 175 are open cast, 227 are underground and 28 are mixed mines. It also imports coal on the behalf of Govt of India.

There are many allegations against the coal mining sector.

Coal India is criticized for operating coal mines without environment clearance. In September 2011, CAG criticised CIL for operating 239 mines in seven coal producing subsidiaries, which existed prior to 1994, without environmental clearance.

There are several types of environmental problems arising because of excessive coal mining. It includes following:

  1. Air pollution in mines is mainly due to the emissions of particulate matter and gases including methane, sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and carbon monooxide. Most of the mining operations produce dust.
  2. The key environmental challenges facing the coal industry are related to both coal mining and the use of coal – greenhouse gases, acid rain and ground level ozone, issues which can be local, regional and global in their impacts.
  3. Mining and its associated activities not only uses a lot of water but also affects the hydrological regime of the district and often affects the water quality. It mainly affects ground water levels and its quality.
  4. Acidic water results in severe water pollution problems. Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) refers to distinctive types of waste bodies that originate from the weathering and leaching of sulphide minerals present in coal.

 

 

Coal mining also leads to health problems in the workers at the mines and also the habitants around or near the coal mines. It includes:

  • Respiratory Effects: Air pollutants produced by coal combustion act on the respiratory system, contributing to serious health effects including asthma, lung disease and lung cancer, and adversely affect normal lung development in children.
  • Cardiovascular Effects: Pollutants produced by coal combustion lead to cardiovascular disease, such as arterial occlusion (artery blockages, leading to heart attacks) and infarct formation (tissue death due to oxygen deprivation, leading to permanent heart damage), as well as cardiac arrhythmias and congestive heart failure. Exposure to chronic air pollution over many years increases cardiovascular mortality.
  • Nervous System Effects: Studies show a correlation between coal-related air pollutants and stroke.  Coal pollutants also act on the nervous system to cause loss of intellectual capacity, primarily through mercury.

So the Environment Ministry and department should work on the regulation of pollution by coal mining and coal imports to avoid nature damage and health problems in people of Indian society.

 

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