, Volume 130, Issue 1-3, pp 17-25
Date: 07 Feb 2007

Characteristics of Hazardous Airborne Dust Around an Indian Surface Coal Mining Area

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Surface coal mining creates more air pollution problems with respect to dust than underground mining . An investigation was conducted to evaluate the characteristics of the airborne dust created by surface coal mining in the Jharia Coalfield. Work zone air quality monitoring was conducted at six locations, and ambient air quality monitoring was conducted at five locations, for a period of 1 year. Total suspended particulate matter (TSP) concentration was found to be as high as 3,723 μg/m3, respirable particulate matter (PM10) 780 μg/m3, and benzene soluble matter was up to 32% in TSP in work zone air. In ambient air, the average maximum level of TSP was 837 μg/m3, PM10 170 μg/m3 and benzene soluble matter was up to 30%. Particle size analysis of TSP revealed that they were more respirable in nature and the median diameter was around 20 μm. Work zone air was found to have higher levels of TSP, PM10 and benzene soluble materials than ambient air. Variations in weight percentages for different size particles are discussed on the basis of mining activities. Anionic concentration in TSP was also determined. This paper concludes that more stringent air quality standards should be adopted for coal mining areas and due consideration should be given on particle size distribution of the air-borne dust while designing control equipment.