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Coal – Can We Ever Cut Down It’s Use?



For the past two centuries, coal has been the source of fossil fuel for the country’s denizens as well as the industries. However, the use of coal in industries has also caused a lot of damage to the environment. The level of carbon footprint left by the industries annually is huge contributing factor to the dangerous levels of rising air pollution. In the US 39% of the total electricity is generated by burning coal, this is much lower than the 52.8% recorded in the year 1997. If such a highly industrialized country like the US can reduce their dependency on coal then why can’t we in India at least try to walk the same path?

Well, in India 59% of the total production of electricity is done by burning coal and the trend does not show any sign of slowing down. However, we as a society are suffering because of this as the carbon imprint is growing with every passing year. We are not able to cut down of emission, which has already started to show its adverse effect on the natural resources like the Himalayan Glaciers. These glaciers are fast melting because of global warming, which are leading to uncertain flood situation in Northern India.

The Indian government has taken some steps to curb down the use of coal for producing electricity. Government is actively framing policies to push forward with renewable energy projects. This is probably the only way to curb emissions and bring down the level of carbon footprint. It is very important that the coal mines are slowly shut down to stop the degradation of natural resources. In fact, in a recent Supreme Court judgement, the government of Meghalaya was asked to stop coal mining in one of the hills.

Coal mines have been a primary source of income for many as livelihood of thousands depended on mining of coal in various places of eastern and central India. Cutting down on the use of coal can never be a reality till we are able to find newer ways of generating power. Nuclear power is slowly fulfilling a part of the power needs; however, it too is considered hazardous. The government needs to have a balanced policy towards usage of coal so that the consumption is whittled down in phases and we are able to slowly move to greener alternatives.

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