Coal Kills: Health Impacts of Air Pollution from India’s Coal Power Expansion
Conservation Actions Trust India, 2014
As the 3rd largest economy in the world with more than a billion people, the supply of power in India can scarcely keep up with demand. Across the country, households and industry suffer from regular power cuts, while more than 400 million lack access to even this unreliable supply. Given the energy scenario, the need to expand power generation capacity and deliver more electricity for India is immediate. To meet the growing electricity demand, the expansion of the coal-fired thermal power plants (TPPs) is the most likely scenario, which consequently also leads to an array of environmental and health impacts. Conservation Actions Trust India’s last assessment, found significant impacts from the existing fleet of coal fired TPPs including between 80,000 and 115,000 deaths annually due to exposure linked their particulate emissions in 2011-12. Keeping that in perspective, this study is an attempt to help rationalise the discourse around expansion of coal power generation – with the goal of presenting the likely impacts of planned future coal-fired TPPs and the likely benefits of more stringent environment regulations on human health.