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‘Planned thermal plants could kill 8.4 lakh people’ | India News

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If India installed all the coal plants it has planned, its power generation capacity would rise from 200 GW in 2018 to 300 GW by 2030. The cost of this expansion, however, would be 8.4 lakh of lives.
A study by researchers at the University of Maryland, Urban Emissions Info, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Texas Tech University, published by the US National Academy of Sciences, found that 78,000 deaths in India were already attributable to coal plants in 2018. the base year for the study. If all the coal plants were installed in the pipeline, deaths related to them would amount to 1.12,000 a year. And the lifetime impact of these new plants is estimated to be 8.44,000 premature deaths.
“We first ran the model using estimates of PM2.5, NOx, and SO2 emissions from all sources except power plants in 2018 … We ran the model again, adding the 2018 power plant emissions … In the third run, we added the plant emissions, ”lead author Dr. Maureen Cropper told TOI. Then, mortality from stroke, ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lower respiratory tract infections, diabetes mellitus, and lung cancer were calculated.

'Planned thermal plants could kill 8.4 lakh people' | India News

They found that ambient PM2.5 in 2018 was 53.5 µg / m3, higher in the Indo-Gangetic Plain and in areas with high-carbon plants than in southern India, which would rise to 55.9 µg / m3. if all the planned plants started operating. With new plants, the ratio of coal-fired power plants to PM2.5 would increase from 9% in 2018 to 13% by 2030 across the country.
“In Odisha and Jharkhand, where planned plants double the installed capacity of coal, fatalities increase by 50%,” says the newspaper. “Bihar and West Bengal are downwind of large capacity expansions in Jharkhand and Odisha and, under the assumption that current pollution control practices continue, will experience significant health impacts from transboundary pollution.”
Two things could change the scale of this impact in opposite ways: households switch to cleaner fuels, and full implementation of new air regulations.
“In Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh, more than 75% of households burn solid fuels for cooking; in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, approximately two-thirds of households do so, ”the newspaper says. “When people are already inhaling a large amount of PM2.5 from household air pollution, the impact of emissions from power plants is much less than if they were not exposed to household air pollution,” Cropper explained.
And while there are regulations for emissions from thermal power plants, notified in 2015, they are not being met. The study calculated that simply implementing the 2015 regulations would reduce PM2.5 from coal plants by up to 70% each year.

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