Mining woes

Published: Saturday 30 September 2000

respiratory ailments, soil and water contamination, thick blanket of dust, withering of cocunut trees and changes in land pattern use are some of the common features of the urban area around Kolar Gold Fields in Karnataka. This is because of the mining going on since 1802, stated a study titled 'Pollution due to mining waste at the Kolar Gold Fields' conducted by the department of geology, University of Bangalore. The activity is also responsible for ecological changes in the area. At least 13 major residue dumps accumulating about 60 million tonnes of mine waste occupy 15 per cent of the total land in the township near the gold fields. The report further added that many areas had become infertile because of soil contamination. Silt had deposited in many tanks following seepage of waste. Some areas were found to contain high percentage of heavy metals, which has retarded plant growth. In areas where the toxic levels are high, only a few variety of plants can be grown. Water has become coloured in a few areas where borewells been have sunk. The report suggests that the authorities should backfill the mines with the tailing material to prevent environmental hazards.

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