Power plants account for 12pc deaths caused by air pollution in Bangladesh: Lancet

Emran Hossain | Published: 00:44, Nov 15,2019 | Updated: 01:28, Nov 15,2019


The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change report released globally Thursday revealed that coal fired and other power plants were responsible for 12 per cent of air pollution related premature deaths.

In 2016, said the report 63,608 premature deaths were caused in Bangladesh by air pollution, including  5,107 by pollution from coal-fired power plants and 2,221 by pollution from the other power plants.

It expressed concern over a significant increase in carbon dioxide emissions between 2016 and 2018, worsened the air pollution scenario.

‘Overall, CO2 emissions from fossil fuels have risen by 2·6% from 2016 to 2018,’ said the report simultaneously released by the New York, London, and Beijing offices of The Lancet, a globally known medical journal.

It said that the emission rose due to increased use  of fossil fuel mainly for generating electricity.

It said that the South Asian countries markedly increased the use of coal to generate electricity.

It said that the global demand for coal for the generation of power fell rapidly between 2014 and 2016 but increased by 1.7 per cent for  power generation.

The report said that coal continues to be the second largest source of global primary energy supply after oil.

The report said that much of the exposure to particulate matter  due to anthropogenic activities was associated with combustion of coal and other fossil fuels for electricity generation.

Industrial production, movement of transports,  cooking and household heating are the other sources of air pollution, it said,  adding that  industries and households burned coals causing 2,163 and 515 premature deaths respectively in Bangladesh in 2016.

The report once again brought forth the risks associated coal fired power plants.

Bangladesh plans to increase the use of coal fired power plants by 63 times  by 2041.

Now, Bangladesh generates three per cent of its electricity requirement from coal fired plants.

On November 6, another global research revealed that Bangladesh was on the course of turning into a carbon bomb by 2041 with 29 under implementation mega coal power projects, sponsored by China, the UK, India, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.

The research said the coal-fired power plants planned in Bangladesh would emit 115 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2031.

The power plants would release 4,600 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in their 40-year lifetime, 20 per cent higher than Japan, which produces much of its power from coal.

Bangladesh has already declared three coastal areas as coal power hubs with huge infrastructures being built there for coal imports  and power generation.

The Amsterdam based green movement Greenpeace in 2017 estimated that the coal-fired power plant under construction at Rampal, close to the Sunderbans, could cause 6,000 early deaths.

Green activists, environmentalists and health experts have long been calling on the government to reconsider its decision to invest more in coal fired power plants.

‘Coal is a dirty fuel. We should move away from coal,’ said Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon joint secretary Sharif Jamil.

The Lancet report said that every second the world consumes 171 tonnes of coal, 11, 600 tonnes of gas and 186 tonnes of oil.

The report said that if the world did not change its way of sourcing power, a child born today would bear serious negative health impacts at every stage of its growth and many of them would just die inhaling particulate matters.

Lancet Countdown tracks the connections between public health and climate change as it  is undermining the foundations of good health; threatens the food, the air people breathe.

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