In the Himalayan foothills, there was a ton of rain mid to late august, which has lead to dolomite contamination of water, which flows towards the foothills from mines that are being run illegally in Bhutan, as per the India Times. Dolomite is a mineral that can form into sedimentary rocks. In and of itself, this isn’t a huge thing, but it starts to be a serious problem when that dolomite gets into the water supply thanks to excessive rainfall and illegal mining operations, which is exactly what’s been happening.
“The ground water contamination keeps on damaging soil hampering production. But this time, large scale inundation of garden has caused heavy damage of bushes too,” according to planters from the region.
There are dozens of streams from Bhutan that have contaminated roughly 20% of India’s tea production.
“Rejuvenation cost of dolomite affected bushes will significantly increase the loss,” revealed S. Guhathakurata, Secretary of Dooars Branch of Indian Tea Association.
The problem with illegal mines is that they aren’t going to follow the same environmental standards, and when they’re allowed to continue to operate, it can cause some real issues – especially when they’re messing up the water supply, which combined with heavy rains, has lead to the dolomite-rich waters flooding many tea fields.
We’re sending our best wishes to everyone involved, in hopes that things are sorted out in the region, and that the tea fields are freed from having to deal with the repercussions of illegal mining, not to mention the countless other negative impacts from these types of mines, many of which are likely worse than a ruined tea harvest in the grant scheme of things, however a bad harvest can still be devastating to the farmers and workers and everyone involved along the supply chain that needs to make an honest living.