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Study estimates health impact of coal-fired power plants in India

A recent study shows that emissions from coal-fired power stations in India have a worrisome effect on ill-health and death. Two thirds of India’s electricity is produced by coal based power plants.

The study estimated that emissions from coal-fired power plants led to 80,000 to 115,000 premature deaths in 2011 – 2012. Emissions were also reported to cause 20.9 million cases of asthma attacks, 900,000 emergency room visits and 160 million days of restricted activity. The financial costs were also highlighted and could be as high as €2.6 billion – €3.9 billion per year.

It is probably the first time that the burden of disease and death has been quantified and attributed to particulate matter pollution from coal-fired power plants in India. The relatively low associated health costs, however, which are much lower than they would be for Europe due to economic valuations of the differences in GDP, should not give any reason to downplay the intriguingly high numbers of deaths and disease.

There is a growing need to address the health impacts of coal-fired power stations across the world and HEAL welcomes this new study as it kicks off its own campaign on the health effects from coal-fired power stations in Europe.

Originally posted on 10 May 2013

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