India is a country that has massive mineral potential.
Coal mining operations leave an impact on the environment in terms of changes in land-use patterns, dust, air, water and noise pollution. Therefore, through its sheer endeavours, the government has applied eco-friendly concepts in the coal mining sector. The measures would be quite helpful in reducing pollution during coal transportation and checking illegal mining of coal.
Let’s get to know more about these interventions.
It is mandatory for all projects of Coal India Limited to get the Environmental Management Plan approved by the competent authority before commencing the mining operations. Also, a detailed Environment Impact Assessment is carried out for each project considering pre and post-mining conditions.
In addition, during the implementation of the project, the compliance of the conditions laid in the Environment Clearance is being monitored through various regional offices and internally by coal companies. Measurements of pollutant levels for coal mines are also implemented and the report generated is sent to these regional offices.
To handle pollution-intensive commodities, the Ministry of Railways has also issued guidelines/directions to all Zonal Railways in accordance with the provisions of the State Pollution Control Board.
Now, let’s have a look at the control measures adopted for reducing air pollution that is caused due to the transportation of coal.
To reduce the number of trips, low capacity tippers are progressively being replaced by large tippers, resulting in the reduction of air pollution levels. To ensure eco-friendly transportation, roads are black-topped and coal-carrying trucks are optimally loaded and covered with tarpaulin. Also, mobile water sprinklers are deployed along the haul roads.
Various coal mining projects have started implementing effective methods for dust control on roads by deploying road sweeping machines and utilizing the method of wheel washing. To minimise the generation of dust due to road transportation, coal is also transported by conveyors as a part of the First Mile Connectivity projects.
Among all these measures, the most interesting practice is tree plantation which includes carrying out plantation on inactive dumps to minimize soil erosion and planting around the source of air pollution like mines, infrastructure and roads. To minimize noise pollution, green belts have also been provided around the mine as well as in residential colonies.
Apart from this, an extensive tree plantation programme is undertaken every year by the coal companies. During the last five years, CIL has planted more than 94 lakh of saplings over an area of about 3,873 hectares inside the mine lease area and around 7.13 lakh saplings over an area of about 500 hectares outside the mine lease area.
The coal companies have taken several steps to augment the mechanized coal transportation and loading system. In Phase-I, 35 projects are being implemented for a capacity of 414.5 MTPA (Million Tonnes Per Annum). On commissioning of the same, a huge quantum of road transport will be eliminated, thereby leading to reduced air pollution & CO2 emissions.
For reporting unauthorized coal mining activities, the Government of India has also launched a mobile app named “Khanan Prahari”. Another web application, known as Coal Mine Surveillance and Management System has also been launched to monitor the coal mining activities.
The government has realized the importance of a planned economy, hence, it is continuously introducing new mining technologies, thus, leading to the vision of sustainable mining development.
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