Question: Coal mining restrictions will improve the environment as well as provide health benefits. Discuss the impact of banning coal mining on the economy.
Answer: India is one of the largest miners of coal in the world. It needs coal for its domestic industries as well as for electricity production.
Majority of mines are located in the Chhotanagpur plateau encompassing the states of Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh.
Benefits of banning coal mining on environment
- Reduce carbon emissions
Mining of coal releases carbon compounds in the atmosphere. It will increase greenhouse effect and results in global warming.
- Air pollution reduces
The dust and the related compounds are carried across the region through air. They are responsible for increase in particulate matter pollution.
- Protection of forests
Large areas of forests are cleared to mine coal. By putting a blanket ban, many acres of forest land will be protected along with trees and plants.
- Reduce pollution of rivers
Coal is responsible for polluting large number of rivers flowing through mining area. It will affect the needs of people dependent on river water.
- Reduction in respiratory problems
Lung and related respiratory problems are caused by coal dust. Banning coal mining will save lives of people and also improve their life expectation.
- Chronic illness reduces
Chronic illness such as cancers, kidney failures, heart diseases etc are caused by intake of coal particulates. This can be reduced if coal mining is banned.
Impact on economy
- Loss of jobs
Large sections of people are dependent on coal mining for their employment. The sector adds a significant amount to GDP. This will be lost.
- Shortage for industries
Coal is used as raw material for iron and steel industries. India’s electricity needs are majorly dependent on coal-fired plants.
Thus, coal mining is vital for economy but it should slowly be reduced. Electricity generation can migrate towards renewable sources in future.