MAC: Mines and Communities

A Burning Issue

Published by MAC on 2003-02-14

A Burning Issue

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) last week focused on a "little known" global problem caused by the the unintentional burning of coal. The Association estimates that such fires, started mainly by human activity, contribute significantly to carbon dioxide emissions - as much as 3% of total world output deriving from such fires in China alone.

The following news-piece from Environment News Service fails to mention the impact of such devastation on hundreds of thousands - if not millions of rural people - who have been suffering them, sometimes fatally, for decades. Nor did the AAAS apparently register the enormous health and social costs to people unfnortunate enough to live by, or work in, such mines. Though the AAAS concentrated on Indonesia and China, only passing reference is made to India. Here, fires have been raging for well over a hundred years in the north east, specificaly West Bengal. The World Bank initiated a programme in the Jharia fields to try and abate the destruction, but couldn't come up with a solution.

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