ILLEGAL STONE MINING
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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has turned its attention to alleged illegal gravel and stone mining in Meghalaya.
- The NGT has asked Meghalaya’s Ri-Bhoi district administration, the State’s Forest and Mining and Geology departments besides the State Pollution Control Board officials to inspect the stone quarrying areas and submit an action-taken report by October 11.
- Meghalaya government had in September 2016 struck gravel and stones from the list of minor minerals to facilitate stone quarrying.
- Through Google imagery, the petitioner who filed complaint in NGT, illustrated the adverse transformation of an area in Ri-Bhoi district due to stone mining.
- The area where the illegal mining was going on falls within the prohibited distance from Assam’s Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary close to the border with Meghalaya. This need the clearance from the National Board for Wildlife.
- The NGT also directed the Arunachal Pradesh government to check illegal logging in the Frontier State.
- The order was based on a petition regarding unauthorised felling in Papum forest under the Khellong Forest Division.
- Underlining the “serious environment questions”, the NGT asked the government to identify the “hotspots” where illegal felling of trees and deforestation in the area.
- The NGT sought an increase in the strength of forest guards considering the size of the forest land that plays the role of a carbon sink.
- It also called for ensuring effective enforcement of the forest laws, and protection of the rich forest resources while asking the State Chief Secretary to form a high-level committee and put into action.
- Mining is the extraction of minerals and other geological materials of economic value from deposits on the Earth.
- Quarry, place where dimension stone or aggregate (sand, gravel, crushed rock) is mined. The products of dimension stone quarries are prismatic blocks of rock such as marble, granite, limestone, sandstone, and slate.
- Remediation efforts do not always ensure that the biodiversity of the area is restored. Species might be lost permanently.
Mining adversely affects the environment. The environmental impacts were;
- Air Pollution & water pollution
- Contaminate ground water
- Loss of bio-diversity
- Soil erosion
- Physical destruction of the land at the mining site.
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