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Sunday, March 10, 2013

‘Coal pollution led to 1L early deaths’


Nagpur: When the government is going all out to fasttrack power generation, it might as well pause to think of its serious public health effects. A study has revealed pollution caused by coal-fired plants in the country has resulted in an estimated 80,000-1,15,000 premature deaths and more than 20 million asthma cases in 2011-12. It cost the public and the government an estimated Rs16,000-Rs23,000 crore. 
    The study 'Coal Kills: An assessment of death and disease caused by India's dirtiest ener
gy source' was conducted by NGOs Conservation Action Trust (CAT), Mumbai, Urban Emissions, Delhi, and Greenpeace, Bangalore. 
    It also reveals that at least 10,000 kids (under 5 years) died during the last year with millions taking impact on respiratory system, chronic bronchi
tis, chest discomforts, asthma attacks etc. 
    Studies in the US and Europe have already established that emissions from coal-fired power were responsible for significant levels of illness and premature death. However, such data are hard to come by in India. The study was carried for the first time to address this deficiency, the NGOs who released the findings said. 
    Debi Goenka of CAT said Urban Emissions developed estimates ofhealth impacts using a well-established and extensively peer-reviewed methodology based on concen
tration-response functions established from epidemiological studies. 
    "The data in this study are derived from a database of coal-fired power plants compiled by Urban Emissions for the operational period of 2011-12 and takes into account a total of 111 coal-based plants representing a generation capacity of 121 gigawatts (GW)," Goenka said. 
    The largest impact of these emissions is felt over the states of Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra, MP, Chhattisgarh, Indo-Gangetic Plain, and most of the Central-East India.

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