Friday, May 02, 2014

80,000 Premature Deaths Annually due to the Air Pollution from the Coal-Fired Power Plants in India

In India, of the 210 GW electricity generation capacity, 66% is derived from coal, with planned additions of 76 GW and 93 GW during the 12th and the 13th five year plans, respectively.

This study is published as a peer-reviewed article in the journal of Atmospheric Environment

Atmospheric emissions from the coal-fired power plants are responsible for a large burden on human health. In 2010-11, 111 plants with an installed capacity of 121 GW, consumed 503 million tons of coal, and generated an estimated 580 ktons of particulates with diameter less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5), 2100 ktons of sulfur dioxides, 2000 ktons of nitrogen oxides, 1100 ktons of carbon monoxide, 100 ktons of volatile organic compounds, and 665 million tons of carbon dioxide. These emissions resulted in an estimated 80,000 to 115,000 premature deaths and 20.0 million asthma cases from exposure to PM2.5 pollution, which cost the public and the government an estimated INR 16,000 to 23,000 crores (USD 3.2 to 4.6 billion).

See pollution analysis and animations
Word Cloud of the Journal Article

The analysis shows that aggressive pollution control regulations such as mandating flue gas desulfurization, introduction and tightening of emission standards for all criteria pollutants, and updating procedures for environment impact assessments, are imperative for regional clean air and to reduce health impacts. For example, a mandate for installation of flue gas desulfurization systems for the operational 111 plants could reduce the PM2.5 concentrations by 30-40% by eliminating the formation of the secondary sulfates and nitrates.

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