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Degradation in Water Quality due to Limestone Mining in East Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya, India

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Environmental Studies, North-Eastern Hill University, Umshing, Shillong -793022, Meghalaya, INDIA

Int. Res. J. Environment Sci., Volume 3, Issue (5), Pages 13-20, May,22 (2014)

Abstract

Meghalaya possesses 9% of the country total limestone reserves. Of which, East Jaintia Hills district has the maximum deposits. Limestone rock mining in the district started about a decade ago to meet the requirements of the cement plants of the area. In recent years, number of cement plants and quantum of limestone mining have increased drastically leading to severe environmental problems ranging from deforestation and degradation of land to water pollution and water scarcity. This study reports the impact of limestone mining on water quality based on analyses of various physico-chemical parameters of water samples of the area and its comparison with the results of unaffected water body. Analysis was done during the Pre-monsoon and Post-monsoon seasons of 2013, from five different locations in the vicinity of the mining area. The water samples from Myntdu river headwater were selected as a control. It was found that water samples analysed from the vicinity of limestone quarry and cement plant showed an elevated levels of pH, EC, TDS, total hardness, alkalinity, calcium and sulphate concentrations etc. with reference to those of control samples. The study revealed that open cast mining of limestone rock’s and direct contact of wastewater from the cement plants into the water bodies does have a negative impact on the physico-chemical characteristics of the waters of the area. Thereby, indicating a serious problem on availability of clean water in the area.

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