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'Non-compliance of emission standard for coal power plants can cause 76K premature deaths'

Non-compliance of emission standard for coal power plants can cause 76K premature deaths

NEW DELHI: The last coal power plant in Delhi has been shut down this year after long struggle yet the city faced continuous "very poor" days. Experts suggest that the non-compliance of emission standards for the coal-based plants have done havoc in cities like Delhi. "On the third anniversary of notification and one year since the deadline lapsed for implementing the emission standards for coal-based power plants, an analysis points out that approximately 76,000 premature deaths could have been averted if the coal power plants in India had implemented the emission standard norms notified by the Union Government in 2015 on time," noted a report.

Based on data accessed under Right To Information response given by the Central Pollution Control Board, an India based environment watchdog released an analysis-Health & Environmental benefits of implementing the emission standards for coal-based TPPs on Friday. The analysis highlights that India would have reduced 48 per cent of SO2, 48 per cent of NOx and 40 per cent of PM emission respectively if the coal power plants had complied by the TPP emission standards. Out of 76,000 premature deaths, 34,000 deaths per year could have been avoided due to SO2 emissions reduction, 28,000 deaths due to NOx reduction and 15,000 deaths due to PM emissions reductions.

According to the report, a five-year delay in the implementation of the standards can lead up to an estimated 3.8 lakh avoidable deaths and NOx limits alone can lead in projected 1.4 lakh avoidable deaths. The projection has not taken into account the increase in coal-based power generation for future years. Talking about the finding, Sunil Dahiya of Greenpeace India said, "Emission standards for thermal power plants were due in India over few decades, it's unfortunate that the Ministry of Power and coal power companies are refusing to implement the rules and hiding behind false technical details. They should understand India is facing a public health crisis due to air pollution and emission from coal power plants are a big part of that crisis. India should accelerate implementation of the emission standards and stop any new investment on coal and move aggressively towards renewable energy sources which are not just environment-friendly but are overall sustainable and cheaper than polluting coal."

Sayantan Ghosh

Sayantan Ghosh

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