Thar coal: Enemy of clean environment
By M. Akram Khan Niazi
KALABAGH DAM which will increase the water resources of the country is being opposed while Thar coal project, which will consume huge amount of water and will contaminate all water, air and land resources of Pakistan is being advocated by the government.
Clean electricity produced by Kalabagh dam will be available to every citizen of the country while Thar coal project will pollute all water, air and land resources of not only of Pakistan but also of neighbouring countries like India and China.
Thar coal will effect each and every living organism while environment friendly Kalabagh will not only store water for the cultivation of land , but also will produce clean energy without carbon emmision, by that electricity it will be possible to pump out underground water which will also increase water resources and will store water for cultivation of land, Kalabagh Dam will increase wet land for fisheries, will increase green land which will be helpful in decreasing environmental carbon dioxide produce by coal and other fuels and will control flooding and erosion of land and will save lives and lands of people.
Coal is one of the most polluting sources of energy available, jeopardizing our health and our environment. While Kalabagh Dam will have multiple advantages and will act as clean electricity power house, Sweet water reservoir and floods controller all these things will improve fertility of lands, will reduce poverty and will increase food production.
Effects of coal on environment: Coal as a source of energy is probably the most environmentally damaging of all the traditional sources of energy.
One must keep in mind that a typical power coal plant generates 3 million tons of CO2 or 17 tons of carbon per megawatt and draws about 2.3 billion gallons of water per annum from nearby source while on land coal produces mercury which not only renders water useless for human consumption but also for irrigation purpose as well.
Coal produces large amounts of airborne toxic chemicals, including sulfur dioxide, mercury, nitrous oxides, arsenic and lead. Coal is a highly polluting energy source. It emits much more carbon per unit of energy than oil, and natural gas. CO2 represents the major portion of greenhouse gases. It is, therefore, one of the leading contributors to climate change.
From mine to sky, from extraction to combustion — coal pollutes every step of the way. The huge environmental and social costs associated with coal usage make it an expensive option for developing countries.
Coal mining is responsible for acid drainage from coal mines, polluting rivers and streams, to the release of mercury and other toxins when it is burned, as well as climate-destroying gases and fine particulates that wreak havoc on human health, coal is unquestionably, a dirty business.
On one side China and India are planning to curb the Carbon emission by curbing the use of oil, coal and other fossil fuels, and Bangladesh and Maldives are crying for taking measures against rise of seas due to global warming and melting of glaciers and on other side Government of Pakistan is planning to use Thar coal which will not only cause global warming but also pollute the whole environment of South Asia but in fact will endanger the life of 3 Billion peoples living in China, India, Kashmir, Northern areas, KPK, PUNJAB and Sindh, as the direction of smoke and dangerous gases will be from east to north west of Pakistan. And people of these areas will suffer from respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, cardiovascular diseases and cancer, and people of these areas will suffer from dangers and adverse effects of smoking without smoking the cigarettes.
Government of Pakistan is leaving no stone unturned for sinking delta dwellers people of Bangladesh and Island dweller people of Maldives under sea by wasting about 10 million acres feet water of River Indus from the catchments area of whole of Pakistan in the sea and is not preserving and storing that water in dams like Kalabagh and Basha, on one side people of Pakistan are suffering from acute wastage of water and electricity and on other side Government is wasting sweet water in the sea which is not only causing sea rise and erosion of coastal land for whole of subcontinent, including Bangladesh and Maldives but is also harmful for saline habitat fishes and saline and sea plants like Mangroves
South Asia is already suffering from the adverse effects of Brown Cloud (Accumulation of dirty gases) in upper atmosphere of subcontinent and is having negative effects on the health of population of India and Pakistan, Moreover there is already shortage of Ozone gas in the upper atmosphere of South Asia, due to which people of South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) are not having perfect healthy bodies as compared to other races of the world. In view of such a bad condition of atmosphere burning the coal is just like to throw the people of Pakistan into valley of death, where as there already so many poor workers are daily dying in the coal mines of Balouchistan, but no one is having any care about those poor workers.
There are a number of adverse environmental effects of coal mining and burning, especially the glaciers of the Himalayas, Karakoram, Hindukush and Pamir ranges in Gilgit-Baltistan contribute significantly to the stream flow of the Indus Basin. More significantly, during the dry season these glaciers become the system’s only source. Impacts due to climate change on these glaciers have been studied in recent decades and vivid fluctuation of water flow in the Indus River Basin System has been reported.Many dams may be constructed for generation of clean energy in Pakistan like Kalabagh and Basha Dam, it is necessary as government of Pakistan is wasting its only Indus River sweet water (10 million acres feet water) in the sea while on the other side common people of Pakistan are suffering from the thirst and hunger due to shortage of water and electricity.