Health Problems of Coal Mine Workers in Pakistan
Objective: To study the health impacts of coal mining on coal miners in Baluchistan. Settings and duration: The data on coal miners was collected from May 2008 to April 2009. Subjects and Methods: Two types of data were collected. Primary data was obtained through topographic survey and questionnaire while Secondary data about the health issues, medical facilities and other allied facilities of coal mine workers of Baluchistan were collected from; Mine& Mineral department of Quetta, hospitals and medicals facilities in coal mine fields. Three mine fields i.e. Mach, So-range-Degari, and Chamalong coal fields were selected and further subdivided asM1,M2,andM3atMachcoalfield,SD1,SD2andSD3atSo-range-DegariandC1,C2andC3atChamalongcoalfield.
Results: The average emission of Methane (CH4), Carbon monoxide (CO), and Oxygen (O2) in coal mine fields was 11.8m3/ton, 36ppm and 14% respectively which, exceeded the permissible limits of 1-10m3/ton, 30ppm and 18%. The concentration of coal dust (Carbon and Quartz) was 4-5mg/m3 and 0.35mg/m3 respectively as against the threshold limits
of2mg/m3 and0.05-0.1mg/m3 for8hoursdailyand40hours/week.Duetohighconcentrationofcoaldusttheminers Experienced headache, irritation in throat, nose and eyes, drowsiness, shortness of breath, nausea, pneumoconiosis, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive bronchitis, heart problems, and other respiratory illnesses. The coal water and slurry was disposed off in an unconfined area causing contamination of drinking water leading to symptoms of indigestion and diarrhea to theminers.
Conclusion: Government of Baluchistan and coal mine owners should take concrete steps to improve the adverse health
impacts of coal miners.
Key words - Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, threshold limit values, coal workers pneumoconiosis, permissible exposure limit, tuberculosis.