Coal mining, like any other developmental activity, does have impacts on native environment, which are generally contained within the mining area itself. One of the impacts of mining activities involving drilling, blasting, loading and transport of coal is generation and dispersion of suspended particulate matter in the atmosphere for which various air pollution control measures including those prescribed in the EMP/EC/CTO are taken by mine operators to minimize the impact and maintain air quality standards as prescribed in MoEFCC Notification No. G.S.R. 742(E) dated 25.09.2000 for coal mines :-
- Generation and propagation of dust is controlled at source by installation of fixed sprinklers at CHPs, coal stock yards, weighbridges and along transportation roads. In major CHPs, fixed sprinklers have been provided at the transfer points and bunkers
- Mobile water sprinkler are deployed along the haul roads and road transport road
- Long throw fog canons have been deployed in mines and industrial establishments The mist type water spraying system have been installed along the conveyor belts / Bunkers in major coal handling plants. The sides of CHPs are covered by side cladding with GI Sheet to control pollution at source.
- Control blasting techniques with proper delay detonators and explosives are used for mitigation of dust generation and ground vibration during blasting operations.
- Coal companies are deploying modern equipment having environment friendly features, like Surface Miner in coal that eliminates the drilling, blasting and crushing operations in coal and hence, in turn, obviates pollution caused due to these operations.
- Use of drills fitted with wet drilling and dust extractors in order to control generation of dust.
- To avoid spillage of Coal from trucks on road – all loaded coal transporting trucks are covered by tarpaulin and also overloading of trucks are prohibited
- Transport haul roads are kept well maintained and Concrete/black topped roads are being developed for better stability and durability;
- Mines have deployed mechanical sweepers and other methods for dry sweeping of roads.
- First Mile Connectivity (FMC) projects are being implemented to replace road transport through mechanical loading and conveying systems
- Avenue and peripheral plantation to arrest the propagation and dispersion of dust significantly.
- Installation of Wind barriers for dust trapping.
- Plantation on inactive OB Dumps to minimize soil erosion;
This information was given by the Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Shri Pralhad Joshi in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.
The existing statutory environmental framework provides adequate safeguards to minimize the adverse environmental impacts of mining on native environment.
Before commencement of mining, it is mandatory for all mines to obtain Environmental Clearance (EC) from MoEF&CC for which, a detailed Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) is carried out and accordingly a comprehensive Environment management Plan (EMP) with all safeguards is prepared. The EIA/EMP is deliberated in detail by the Environmental Appraisal Committee (EAC) of MoEF&CC before issuance of EC for the mine. In addition, all mining projects have to obtain Consent to Establish (CTE) and Consent to Operate (CTO) from State Pollution Control Boards (SPCB). These Environmental Permits stipulate all necessary conditions including mitigation measures to protect the environment.
The stipulated conditions of EC/CTO/CTE/FC and the mitigative measures proposed in EMP are necessarily complied to maintain the appropriate environmental standards in mining regions. Comprehensive environmental monitoring mechanism, for assessing the efficacy of mitigation measures, is undertaken as prescribed in the Environment (Protection) Act & Rules and EC conditions. All the pollutants are kept within the prescribed limit and the compliance report is submitted to regulatory agencies on routine basis.
All mitigation measures are taken up by coal companies, for which funds are earmarked in project reports/schemes/mine closure plans/revenue and capital budgets of respective projects.
Thus, the present system of regulating the environment matters through MoEF&CC and CPCB/ SPCBs has inbuilt mechanism in place for environmental protection in and around coal mining areas.