Efforts to Promote Eco-Friendly Mining
Environmentally speaking, Poland – the powerhouse coal-producing country, has experienced much conflict of interest over the years. While coal has produced much economic wealth for this country, the Poles and the environment have suffered greatly at the hands of pollution. mining services
Coal mining in Poland has been a long-standing industry. The first official coal mine was established in 1776 in Szczakowa. Today, in the central region of the country, the Silesian Basin is the main mining area. Poland produces about 140 million tons of coal annually which generates most of Poland’s revenue. The main trade partners are within Europe, which include Germany, France, Italy, and others. The Poles themselves use the fuel in energy production. In fact, 93% of Poland’s energy production comes from the use of coal.
However, with the use of this natural resource came nature’s woe. It was feared in the early 1990s that the excessive use of coal would cause serious environmental damage. But the fear of economic disruption still outweighed the environmental ramifications, therefore the pollution issue was not brought to an abrupt halt. Tests later conducted in the Silesian mining region showed greater cases of respiratory and circulatory problems, higher lead content in children’s blood, and more cases of cancer. Large amounts of agricultural land were deemed unfit for farming due to industrial waste. 65% of Poland’s river water was found to be polluted enough to corrode industrial equipment according to one 1990 report. The Vistulas River was a main contributor to Baltic Sea pollution.
Today the issue of reforming the coal mining industry is a touchy subject, but the Polish government has made fair progress in the resolution of the pollution problem. Among their moves was to recently institute a coal mining restructuring law in 2003 which closed down certain collieries. In 2002, five coal mining companies were merged into one – Kompania Welglowa – which became the largest mining company in Europe. But moves to reform the industry are not an all-too-recent endeavor. As early as the late 1980’s these moves began taking effect. One such was the State Environmental Protection Inspectorate of 1991 which managed industries prone to polluting.