Fade to Black

Country/area: Pakistan

Organisation: Dawn

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 31 May 2020

Credit: Umar Bacha (reporter), Hasan Zaidi (editor), Mohammad Ali (photojournalist)

Project description:

A majority of the coalminers killed in accidents in the coal mines of Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province belong to the remote Shangla district of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. This data-driven project looks at the human impact of the coal mine accidents on the district’s small population where young men often have no other option but to take up risky jobs in the same mines which had claimed the lives of their loved ones.

Impact reached:

The project brought the issue of miners’ safety to the attention of the provincial government and allowed the miners’ trade union to advocate for improvements in the health, safety, and labour conditions of the coalminers.

Techniques/technologies used:

I collected data from the trade union and official sources and mostly used Excel for analysis where necessary.

What was the hardest part of this project?

Getting the residents of the Shangla district to share their stories was the most difficult part but it was also necessary to show that the deaths of the coalminers were not mere numbers but the fatalities destroyed families and affected an entire community that was already marginalised and ignored.

What can others learn from this project?

Despite the conversations around clean energy, there are parts of the world where hazardous coal mining industries are still thriving not just at the cost of the environment, but also at the cost of human lives due to the disregard for health and safety of the labourers.

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