Coal mines in Da Antou, China, are cracking and destroying the homes above. Over the last several years, buildings have slumped and split apart because of the caverns created by the coal mines. Because of China’s growing economy, and thus need for energy, coal companies are expanding production. Coal meets 70% of China’s energy needs. More than half of the houses in Da Antou, forcing 400 people to move. In Shanxi province, Government officials estimate that more than 7,700 square miles have been hollowed out by miners, leaving the earth riddled with empty caverns and causing the crust to sink in more than 1,800 places.
The increase in mining also effects farmers. After the coal is extracted, it is trucked across the province. The black dust then falls on corn and wheat crops. The mining has effected the Da Antou water system in, forcing farmers to haul water from a communal pipe installed in the village square, which also sometimes goes dry. Also, according to farmers, terraced fields have been left unworkable because of the sinkholes.
The Chinese Work Safety Administration reported 4,746 miners were killed in Chinese coal mine accidents last year, making it among the world’s deadliest.
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