Kaolin or China clay or white clay remains a largely untapped mineral resource in West Bengal. The state has 14% of the country’s China clay reserves. But in the existing mining and processing activities raise questions on its impact on the environment, human health, and rights of the workers. Though clay mining is being done for decades in districts such as Birbhum district in West Bengal, it has continued without following measures for ensuring the protection of the environment and the people. Local communities complain about impacts to health, water, and farmlands but are forced to live with the conditions, as the mining sector gives them direct or indirect employment. The mineral is used in the manufacturing of cement, ceramic, plastic, paint, rubber, and much more.
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