Environmental Degradation due to Coal Mining in Baluchistan
Salahuddin Azad
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Head of Department of Basic Sciences, National University of Science and Technology
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2015;24(4):1855–1861
Average emissions of methane (CH4) and carbon monoxide (CO) from coal mining in Baluchistan, Pakistan, have been measured as 11.8 m3/ton and 36 ppm, respectively, which exceeds the permissible limits of 1-10 m3/ton and 30 ppm. The concentration of coal dust (carbon and quartz) have been measured as 4-5 mg/m3 and 0.35 mg/m3 against the threshold limits (recommended by NIOSH) of 2 mg/m3 and 0.05-0.1 mg/m3. The high concentrations of gases and coal dust in coal mining areas of Baluchistan is not only the source of a high death toll and health problems, but environmental issues have also been observed. Such health problems as headache; irritation of the throat, nose, and eyes; pneumoconiosis; tuberculosis; chronic obstructive bronchitis; heart problems; respiratory irritation; asthma; and even lung impairment and lung cancer are more pronounced in the coal workers of Baluchistan. Residual coal water and slurry are disposed off in an unconfined area that has become a source of soil, water, and health degradation.