Agriculture and mining are two important sectors of the Indian economy. While generating huge employment and being important for the economy’s growth, these two sectors are also highly polluting in nature.
Chemical agricultural products like pesticides and fertilisers contribute heavily to soil and water pollution. Excessive excavating for mining, resultant bio-diversity loss, suspended solids and sediments flowing into water sources due to mining also contribute to pollution. Scientific and technological innovations are being undertaken to mitigate these challenges.
Technologies to resist pollution in agriculture
Precision Agriculture Techniques (PAT)
By this process, farmers can plant more seeds in places where they are most likely to thrive. They can use precise amounts of water and other resources to grow crops. Precision agricultural practices enabled by high-tech equipment reduce agricultural inputs through the usage of site-specific applications, which can result in lower greenhouse gas emissions.
The spinner spreader
It is the most commonly used fertiliser from a hopper-fall on one or more spinning disks equipped with vanes without tillage. This technology comes under the category of no-till farming that avoids digging, stirring, and overturning the soil. It keeps moisture, organic matter and nutrients within the soil, making farm fields more fertile and holds the soil firmly. This controls the ill-effects of climate change by preventing soil erosion during floods and by slowing water evaporation during droughts.
Technologies to resist pollution in mining
Total carbon dioxide and other pollutant emissions vary depending on the type of mine, industry and the design and nature of the mining process. To respond to the challenge of climate change, mining companies need to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but must also restore the bio-diversity of the area. A 3D display technology of a mine is an easy way to do this for geologists, the drill and blast team, mine planners and supervisors of the mining companies.
Suranjan Sinha, Professor, Department of Mining Engineering, Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur, informed BE, “Vibration, noise, land degradation and erosion are the main factors behind pollution for the mining sector. The first thing the mining companies should do is to reclaim the land and fill it up to return it to the pre-mining situation. Waste materials of the mining process are also used to fill-up the land to prevent erosion. And to restore the ground level water, regular water infusion to the ground is needed. These steps can also retrieve the bio diversity of the mining area.”
Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) and Reparable Particulate Matter (RPM) are some of the main air pollutants in coal fields. Roadside fixed sprinklers and mobile water sprinklers should be installed for dust suppression in mining areas. The application of Negative Pressure Secondary Dust Removal (NPSDR) system is a necessity in coal mines as it helps to reduce the inflow of air pollutants into the air. NPSDR technology and ultrasonic dust suppression is being extensively used in mines to pull in dusty air by generating a negative pressure field which is formed within the device.
Sinha added, “Another issue for the mining sector is noise pollution. Green-cover or row planting around the mining areas can prevent noise pollution and also help to check the level of air pollution. Regular monitoring of the contamination level for soil or air pollution is mandatory as per government norms in the buffer zone and the core mining zone.”