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Shocking Land Degradation and Pollution against Environmental Norms by Coal India revealed

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Coal India the monopoly producer of Coal in India and responsible for providing almost half of India’s Energy Requirement is a very inefficient organization is well know.Corruption and pilferage of massive amounts of coal is a well known fact  to all industry participants.In fact stealing of coal is a  major livelihood for lakhs of poor Indians in coal belt areas.What is not well known is that Coal India has flouted all norms of environment and conservation.It has not restored sites of open cast and underground mining leading to massive losses for the local environment and citizens.Sand meant to fill up the old mines has been sold in the market for profits.RTI application has shown that this government maharatna has been negligent towards it duties in a huge scale.No wonder there are so many protests for land acquisitions by industry and the government given the degradation and pollution that these companies do.

The Disadvantages of Coal are many but still most of India’s power plants are being built using coal as fuel.Here is a recap of the major cons of Coal

Greenhouse Gas Emissions – One of the biggest cons of Coal Energy is that it releases Carbon Dioxide which has been sequestered for millions of years in the dead bodies of plant and animals.This transfer the Carbon from the Earth to the Environment leading to the Global Warming Effect.Global Treaties have failed in putting a Cost on this,though individual countries are tying to account for this through Carbon Taxes and Cap and Trade.

2) Coal Mining Deaths – Coal Mining has resulted in thousands of deaths each year ever since man discovered coal.Note Coal Deaths happen not only in countries which don’t have good safety regulations like China but also in developed countries like USA and New Zealand.

3) Devastation of Earth and Scenery Near Coal Mines – Open Cast Mining of Coal has resulted in destruction of the habitat and destruction of the scenery.It leads to removal of trees and pollution of air and water in areas surrounding the mines.Coal Mine Fires have burned for hundreds of year underground and make living in those areas hazardous.Those burning underground can be difficult to locate and many cannot be extinguished. Fires can cause the ground above to subside, their combustion gases are dangerous to life, and breaking out to the surface can initiate surface fires as well.

4) Displacement of Humans due to Mining Destruction – In West Bengal,India people are being displaced in huge numbers as the hollowing of the earth due to underground coal mining has made those places unsafe as the  Land Caves in without warning.

5) Emission of Harmful Substances like Sulfur Dioxide,Carbon Monoxide,Mercury,Selenium, Arsenic ,Acid Rain – Thermal Plants emit harmful substances such as Mercury and Sulfur Dioxide which cause health hazards among the surrounding population and Acid Rain.While modern equipment has reduced the emission of these harmful substances,it is still very harmful to humans.

DNA Investigations reveal Coal India flouted Environment Ministry guideline

Coal India Limited (CIL) and its subsidiaries have destroyed at least 60,000 hectares of land across these states. Properly reclaimed, this land could have been used to set up these projects.

According to documents in DNA’s possession, the total area covered by open-cast mines as of March 2011 was 35,570.21 hectares, but the area reclaimed was just 14,949.91 hectares. Replies to queries under the Right to Information (RTI) Act revealed that a majority of these mines were closed between 1980 and 2000.

A visit to some of ECL’s abandoned underground mines revealed that the company’s failure to properly fill the mines had resulted in the land sinking at several places. In some cases, officials were found to have sold the sand meant for refilling the mines.

According to the guidelines of the director general of mine safety (DGMS), land excavated for open-cast mines is to be filled with incombustible material after completion of mining operations and restored to the original level within three months. Voids created by excavation in the quarry are to be simultaneously filled with coal extraction.



Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Anne Hicks

    Hello and thank you for this article. So-called environmentally induced migration is multi-level problem. According to Essam El-Hinnawi definition form 1985 environmental refugees as those people who have been forced to leave their traditional habitat, temporarily or permanently, because of a marked environmental disruption (natural or triggered by people) that jeopardised their existence and/or seriously affected the quality of their life. The fundamental distinction between `environmental migrants` and `environmental refugees` is a standpoint of contemporsry studies in EDPs.

    According to Bogumil Terminski it seems reasonable to distinguish the general category of environmental migrants from the more specific (subordinate to it) category of environmental refugees.

    Environmental migrants, therefore, are persons making a short-lived, cyclical, or longerterm change of residence, of a voluntary or forced character, due to specific environmental factors. Environmental refugees form a specific type of environmental migrant.

    Environmental refugees, therefore, are persons compelled to spontaneous, short-lived, cyclical, or longer-term changes of residence due to sudden or gradually worsening changes in environmental factors important to their living, which may be of either a short-term or an irreversible character.

    According to Norman Myers environmental refugees are “people who can no longer gain a secure livelihood in their homelands because of drought, soil erosion, desertification, deforestation and other environmental problems, together with associated problems of population pressures and profound poverty”.