Spread over the districts of Bankura, Purulia, Midnapore, Burdwan, there are around 100 sponge iron factories. Most of these factories operate out of the coal-rich Burdwan district. To produce sponge iron, which steel plants use as feedstock, these units burn coal to heat iron ore. These factories are providing employment to around 11,000 workers. These workers are mostly working on contract basis, deprived of minimum wages, health and other social security benefits. In the adjoining areas, people’s lives have been greatly affected by the pollution caused by these factories. Most people are facing severe health troubles, mainly breathing problems. All water sources, including drinking water, in nearby areas are polluted. Sal leaves, which provide livelihood to thousands of people from collection and sale, have dried up. This is affecting their livelihood. Food crops in the nearby areas are also been greatly affected , as most of these units use coal with high ash content. The coal used in these factories are considered inferior in quality and sourced mostly from illegal private mines. Many of these factories even switch off pollution control devices to save power costs. The smoke typically contains a lot of harmful gases, such as oxides of carbon, sulphur and nitrogen, and substantial quantities of fine particles, mainly fly ash  In such difficult circumstances for the common people, Nagarik Mancha and other organisations have released a pamphlet in Bengali questioning government’s policies concerning environment and pollution, and also demanding that these factories should be closed immediately . In the last couple of years, West Bengal State Pollution Control Board (WBSPCB) has issued closure notices to 50-60 units for not abiding by its norms.