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Coal mining affected streams in Meghalaya's Jaintia Hills district can be normalized by green algae: Study


October 2, 2011 - Shillong

Acid Mining Drainage (AMD) affected streams in the Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya could be brought back to normalcy by the use of a type of green algae (microspora quadrata) that helps to remove the toxic metals from those streams, a recent study has found.

The study by Mautushi Das and P Ramanujam, titled 'Metal content in water and in green filamentous algae microspora quadrata Hazen from coal coal mine affected streams of Jaintia Hills District, Meghalaya, India', has revealed that unscientific and primitive rat hole method of coal mining and its large scale storage in the state has resulted in serious Acid Mining Drainage (AMD).

However, the study says that algae (a lower group of plant) is growing luxuriantly in the AMD affected streams and could accumulate various metals like iron, manganese, and lead, helping to remove toxic metals from water.

"Microspora quadrata could be used as a biological instrument to formulate management plans in the Jaintia Hills district," Mautushi Das, a researcher in the North eastern Hill University-Sillong, said.

"Microspora quadrata growing abundantly in the AMD affected streams could also be utilized for bioremediation, she added.

There are indications that the contaminated water from these streams are leading the local people to suffer from various health hazards, including formation of Gallbladder stones, kidney stones, and other diseases.

Three streams were selected near the coal mining areas for the study. Samples were taken from the first stream-near an active coal mining area, second one near an abandoned coal mining area (abandoned for five to seven years), while the third stream is located in a coal storage area where huge lump of coal is stored on the roadside. By-Mahashweta Das.

ANI

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