Externalities Due To Sand Mining and Distillery Effluent in Water Streams of India
Sand mining has two crucial impacts on water supply: First, it inhibits the riverbed’s ability to hold groundwater. The recharge of groundwater is directly related to soil type. The fine sand allows water to seep without evaporation. Secondly, it reduces the flow of the water into local tanks. Sand mining effectively lowers the level of the riverbed below the level of the local tanks. In developing countries, unscrupulous exploitation of sand has affected channel form, bridges and riparian habitats and also resulted in lowered water table (UNEP, 1990). Sand bed has cushioning effect in retaining the moisture during the monsoon season and aiding in recharging of shallow as well as deep aquifer (Department of Mines and Geology, GOK, 2001).Contractors and some riparian farmers are found mining the sand in the study area and all riparian farmers are experiencing the effect in terms of groundwater depletion – a classic case of unidirectional externality. In this study, in addition to these effects of sand mining, the effect of distillery unit letting its effluents in lagoons leading to groundwater pollution in the sand mining area, has been analysed. Distilleries are agro based industries producing ethyl alcohol for industrial uses. In the process, spent wash effluent of the by-product is stored in unlined lagoons, which has already polluted groundwater for irrigation and potable purposes affecting the prospect of agriculture, health and environment.
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