Life around Coal

Jharia, located in the state of Jharkhand and Raniganj in West Bengal, India are famous for their rich coal resources. Jharia is famous for its coke which is highly inflammable in nature. Thousands of people have mined in these productive fields for centuries. However, a fire which started in Jharia, a century ago has only worsened making it one of the widest spread mine fires today. According to BCCL (Bharat Coking Coal Ltd) the fire was reported back in1916 at Bhowrah Colliery. Today Jharia coal fields are still a severe environmental threat to all the people living in this dangerous area. According to the sources, the mine fire has spread rapidly due to haphazard mining. Many of the fires have started in these open cast mines due to spontaneous combustion caused by oxidation of minerals present in the exposed coal. This is because mining is done at the surface, exposing the coal to the open air. It is estimated that around thirty-seven million tons of coal has been lost at Jharia due to the fire. The fire underneath causes deep cracks in the ground and emits poisonous gases like Sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and arsenic into the atmosphere. The flames shoot up from the crevasses and the houses eventually collapse. The trees are uprooted, and the vegetation is drying in this arid landscape.

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