We have started to look for other sources of renewable energy, but to date, coal is still the number one energy source. Coal provides 40% of the world’s electricity and it produces 39% of global Carbon Dioxide emissions. It’s one of the drivers of our current issue with Global Warming.
It’s a dirty source of fuel and it’s destructive to people and the environment from the moment it is mined.
In India, we have a problem that is destroying our forests, polluting our rivers, and converting our air into poison. I am talking about coal. India is the second-largest coal-producing country in the world. From the top ten polluted cities in the world, India has six cities on that list.
As per the Greenpeace Indian coal power, plants kill 120,000 people every year. And that’s not all due to pollution from thermal or coal-fired power plants caused an economic loss of $4.6 billion (Rs 29,500 crore) according to the 2017 Economic Survey.
India excites us about Solar Power but it disappoints us with coal as well. If we praise India for what is going right, we have to voice our opinion on what is going wrong.
Let me take you to three places to tell you about the cost of coal. Let’s go to the northeast, all of us saw what happened with these elephants in Kerela and we feel really bad, and yet we are giving permission to mine for coal in an elephant reserve!
Dehingpatkai in Assam is called the Amazon of the east. Over here 98 hectares are threatened because of coal mining. When we mine for coal, we destroy our forest too. We destroy the homes of so many animals.
We increase the chances of such incidences happening in Kerela, “that’s the cost of coal! But does it matters?”
Let’s go to Chattisgarh, 40 million people drink the water of the Mahanadi, they use it for irrigation every day they are dependent on this river. The HasdeoArand forest is also home to major tributaries of Mahanadi if these are died or polluted it can impact millions of people. “That’s the cost of coal! But does it matters?”
The residue left after making electricity from coal is called FLY ASH. This fly ash is very toxic. India exports it to Bangladesh. The fly ash exports on small ships via rivers and lots of time these ships sink polluting our holy river Ganga. “That’s the cost of coal! But does it matters?”
Miners at higher risk of lung diseases with no cure for most, I think something is going wrong. Coal is not cheap! We have to bear a long term cost for its short term benefit. This is possible because of dark energy, that keeps us away from the impact of our activities and the dark energy is APATHY.
It is possible to generate electricity without coal. Take the example of Britain. During COVID, Britain achieved an impossible-seeming target. For the last two months, Britain has stopped producing electricity from coal.
Before 10 years 40% of energy was from coal, now in India, 60% of energy is from coal. The difference is not that high. We can’t aim only for development we need to think of sustainable development.
If any company plans any project that can cause environmental damage they need an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA). Together we can make a difference, maybe one of us can’t make a difference but each one of us can make a difference and there is just one small difference in these two. And that’s the reason why it matters!
Article Written By Somanath Sahu
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