Environmental Alert: Thar Coal Power Plants May Kill 29,000 People

Karachi: An international study revealed coal based power plants in Thar will general pollution to the extent that they could kill 29,000 people and have deadly affect on 100,000 people.

The Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), an independent research organisation, conducted a study on Thar Coal and release it’s report on Friday under the title of “Air quality, health and toxics impacts of the proposed coal mining and power cluster in Thar, Pakistan.”

The lead author is Lauri Myllyvirta wrote in this study that Pakistan has planned to install power plants with the combine capacity of 6000 MW which will make Thar a hot spot in the South Asia for increasing carbon level in the air. “The proposed plants would constitute one of the largest air pollutant, mercury and carbon dioxide (CO2) emission hotspots in South Asia.” These power plants will cause 29000 air polution related deaths and leave 100,000 people to dangerously high levels of SO2 .

Report indicate that Asthma patients will rise in Thar. “Other health impacts include 40,000 asthma emergency room visits, 19,900 new cases of asthma in children, 32,000 preterm births, 20 million days of work absence (sick leave) and 57,000 years lived with disability related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and stroke.”

These power plants will release 1,400 kg of mercury per year, of which one fifth would be deposited on land ecosystems in the region, the report says. Mercury deposition will be affect agricultural land and increase mercury concentration in the food chain.

This report raised question on the performance of Environmental Protection Agency of Sindh. “Did anyone even read these Environmental Impact Assessments during their approval?” the author asked during an online presentation on Friday.

“The existence of such elementary errors and omissions in the cornerstone data used in the EIAs makes it appear that the reports have not been independently reviewed by the regulator, raising serious questions about the level of regulatory oversight,” author pointed out.

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