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Pollution in the Mining Area Leading to Ecological Problems

Obra (Sonbhadra). Environmental pollution from the mining area cursed from unbalanced industrialisation is leading to ecological crisis. The damage to the forest, land and the people is increasing day by day to such an extent that in the coming days, small and big towns, villages and hamlets situated along the Varanasi-Shaktinagar Road can be destroyed forever.

It must be noted that the Billi-Markundi mining field in the region has 20 crushers, out of which only 20 per cent crushers have got no objection certificate from Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board. The rest of the crushers are still running violating all the environmental rules. Sources said that even the crushers which have got the no objection certificate, are not implementing pollution control measures effectively.

The situation is so bad that not only the mining area, but also the nearby residential areas are covered by a thick haze all day and night. About 50,000 labourers, not only from the state, but from the country, working in this largest industry of the unorganised sector are being affected by various diseases. Southernmost part of the district, which at a time was among one of the greenest areas of the country, is on the verge of being included among the highly polluted regions. The ash emanating from the crushers has damaged the environmental system of the whole area.

This is the topic of discussion as to why the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board, making huge cry over the effect of pollution on Taj Mahal, is a mute spectator over the injustice being made to the existence of land, forest and hills of the area. On the other hand facts presented by the Central Pollution Control Board in its report are very frightening. It has measured a SPM level of 169 to 2,757 microgram per cubic metre and RSPM level is 95 to 660 microgram per cubic metre after detailed scientific examinations conducted in the Billi-Markundi mining field. It must be paid attention that the standard levels of SPM and RSPM are fixed at 200 and 100 microgram per cubic metre respectively. Similarly sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide measure 5 to 31and 14 to 48 microgram per cubic metre, respectively, in the area.

The situation of the mining area, bearing the burden of environmental pollution, is such that neither the pollution control board nor the forest department has supported it to establish the environmental standards. Whenever the pollution control board comes into action, the miners start sprinkling water over the flying mine-dust, but after some time it stops.

Industrialists want to sell mine-dust, believed to be most dangerous for land, free of cost, but the forest department does not give the permission for its transportation. As a result, the dust has swallowed hundreds of hectares of land around Obra, Dala and nearby areas.

One of the industrialists says that the area is groaning in the clutches of bureaucracy. If we are supported and environmental awareness is given shape of movement, conditions will definitely change.

[Translated from the news item published in Hindi Daily Dainik Jagran, dated April 5, 2007]

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