Coal Mining is Trashing Tigerland: Greenpeace report
On 1st August 2012 Greenpeace unveiled a detailed report titled 'How Coal Mining is Trashing Tigerland' The report states that the biggest threat to the long term survival of the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger in Central India is coal mining.
Approximately 30% of India's tigers are found in the Central Indian landscape forests. Coal mining and related infrastructure here will result in the destruction and fragmentation of forests, threatening both wildlife and forest dependent communities. The coal mining belt covers Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and parts of Odisha and eastern Maharashtra. This same region is also part of India's largest contiguous tiger landscape, and coal fields here are in proximity to at least 10 Tiger Reserves.
The Greenpeace report analysed 13 coalfields out of over 40 in Central India. As the government looks to expand coal mining, more than 1 million hectares of forest land will come under threat in just these 13 coalfields. That's almost twice the area of India's top five metros combined.
With only 1,700 tigers left in the wild the government has stressed that saving the tiger is a national priority. If we really intend to work on tiger conservation, then we just can't afford to ignore the impact more deforestation and coal mining will have on the tiger and other wildlife in Central India.
The 120 page report, which is available online, warns that further expansion in coal mining will have severe costs for the country's forests and wildlife. Since 2007 India's coal production capacity has doubled and over 26,000 hectares of forest land has been sacrificed for coal mining. The Planning Commission of India projects a 250 percent increase in domestic coal consumption by 2031-32. Over 80 percent of India's coal is in Central India, and much of it under forest. If our last remaining forests are destroyed for mining, along with our varied wildlife, forest communities will lose their livelihood and homes forever. Coal mining and thermal power plants also cause severe environmental damage like air and water pollution and increases greenhouse gas emissions.
Greenpeace is calling for an immediate moratorium on diverting further forest land for coal mining and is asking the Prime Minister to enforce a clear demarcation of forest areas off limits to mining. A petition to this effect has been created and over 22,000 people have already signed up since 19th July 2012. To support this campaign to save our forests visit junglistan.org/home.