Coal Kills An Assessment of Death and Disease

Coal Kills An Assessment of Death and Disease
Coal Kills
An Assessment of Death and Disease
caused by India’s Dirtiest Energy Source
Founded in 2005, the Conservation Action Trust is a non-profit organization
dedicated to the protection of the environment through advocacy and action.
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Founded in 2007, Urban Emissions (India) program has four objectives (a)
promote the sharing of knowledge base on air pollution analysis (b) analysis based
on science (c) advocacy and awareness raising on air quality management and (d)
building partnerships among local, national, and international stakeholders.
www.UrbanEmissions.info
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This work was made possible through the pioneering work done by Urban Emissions
in partnership with the Conservation Action Trust and Greenpeace India.
Written By:
Debi Goenka, CAT <[email protected]> and Sarath Guttikunda, Urban Emissions
Edited By: Ashish Fernandes, Greenpeace <[email protected]>
Design By: Mauli (M) 7738100010 <[email protected]>
Cover Image: Tata Power Project, Mumbai.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Globally, it is well established that emissions from coal-fired power are
responsible for significant levels of illness and premature death. Whilst
comprehensive studies of health impacts caused by particulate air pollution
attributable to coal power plants have been carried out in the USA and parts
of Europe, such data is hard to come by in India. To address this deficiency,
Conservation Action Trust commissioned Urban Emissions to conduct the
analysis for this study. Urban Emissions developed estimates of health impacts
using a well-established and extensively peer-reviewed methodology based on
concentration-response functions established from epidemiological studies. The
technical study is appended, starting page 11.
The data in this study is derived from a database of coal-fired power plants
compiled by Urban Emissions for the operational period of 2011-12 and takes
into account a total of 111 coal-fired power plants representing a generation
capacity of 121GW. The pollution impact generated by this fleet of coal plants is
summarized below:
Estimated annual health impacts and health costs due to PM pollution from coal-fired power plants in India,
2011-12
Effect
Health impacts
Health costs
(crores of Rupees) a
Health costs
(million USD) b
Total premature mortality
80,000 to 115,000
16,000-23,000
3300-4600
Child mortality (under 5)
10,000
2100
420
Respiratory symptoms
625 million
6200
1200
Chronic bronchitis
170,000
900
170
Chest discomforts
8.4 million
170
35
Asthma attacks
20.9 million
2100
420
Emergency room visits
900,000
320
60
Restricted activity days
160 million
8000
1600
a – one crore = 10 million
b – using conversion rate of 1 USD = 50 Rupees
The results of this analysis show that coal is taking a heavy toll on human life across
large parts of the country:
• The study finds that in 2011-2012, emissions from Indian coal plants resulted in
80,000 to 115,000 premature deaths and more than 20 million asthma cases from
exposure to total PM10 pollution.
Coal Kills
1
“
POLLUTION FROM
COAL PLANTS
RESULTED IN
85,000-115,000
PREMATURE DEATHS
IN 2011-2012.
”
• The study quantified additional health impacts such as hundreds of thousands
of heart attacks, emergency room visits, hospital admissions, and lost workdays
caused by coal-based emissions.
• The study estimates the monetary cost associated with these health impacts
exceeds Rs.16,000 to 23,000 crores (USD $3.3 to 4.6 billion) per year.
This burden is not distributed evenly across the population. Geographically, the
largest impact is felt over the states of Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh,
Chhattisgarh, the Indo-Gangetic plain, and most of central India. Demographically,
adverse impacts are especially severe for the elderly, children, and those with respiratory
disease. In addition, the poor, minority groups, and people who live in areas downwind
of multiple power plants are likely to be disproportionately exposed to the health risks
and costs of fine particle pollution.
These impacts are likely to increase significantly in the future if Indian
policymakers do not act. At approximately 210 GW, India has the fifth largest
electricity generation sector in the world of which 66% comes from coal.1 Current plans
envision deepening this reliance with 76GW planned for the 12th Five Year Plan (20122017) and 93GW for the 13th Five Year Plan (2017-2022). The majority of planned
capacity additions are coal-based and according to government projections, coal’s share
in the Indian electricity mix will remain largely constant. Very few require modern
pollution control technologies that would significantly reduce health impacts.
Given the significant impacts associated with coal fired power plants it is important
that the Indian public, and its policymakers, are well informed. This report is the first
attempt to provide policymakers objective information on the morbidity and mortality
caused by coal plants in India. The data represents a clarion call to action to avoid the
deadly, and entirely avoidable, impact this pollution is having on India’s population.
Bhagwat Saw, 69, in the emergency room at Life Line Hospital, Jharia. Bhagwat has
been working as a coal loader for over 40 years and is suffering from pneumoconiosis.
© Greenpeace / Peter Caton
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Coal Kills
THE LINK BETWEEN POLLUTION FROM COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS AND
HUMAN HEALTH
The direct link between emissions (from transport, power plants, household
cookstoves, industries, and fugitive dust), outdoor air pollution, and human health
has been extensively documented.2 Most notable of the health impacts resulting in
premature deaths include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lower respiratory
infections, cerebrovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, and cancers of trachea,
bronchitis, and lung. Of all the pollutants, the public health concerns in India are
focused on PM that contributes to a host of respiratory and cardiopulmonary
ailments and increasing the risk of premature death. Epidemiological studies
conducted in India (Delhi and Chennai) under the Public Health and Air Pollution in
Asia (PAPA) programme also highlighted the linkages between outdoor air pollution
and premature mortality, hospital admissions, and asthma cases.3
The morbidity and mortality burden is particularly costly for governments
in terms of work days lost, lost productivity, and loss in terms of gross domestic
product. Since most PM related deaths occur within a year or two of exposure,
reducing PM pollution from sources like transport and power plants has almost
immediate benefits for health and the national economy.
Fine particles are especially dangerous because, once inhaled, they can lodge deep
in the human lung. Research indicates that short-term exposures to fine particle
pollution are linked to cardiac effects, including increased risk of heart attack.4 Longterm exposure to fine particle pollution has also been linked to an increased risk
of death from lung cancer and cardiac and respiratory diseases. Cumulatively, this
results in lower life-expectancy for residents of more polluted cities as against those
residing in cleaner cities.5
“
GIVEN COAL
POWER EXPANSION
PLANS, THE
BURDEN OF
DEATH AND
DISEASE IS LIKELY
TO INCREASE
SIGNIFICANTLY IN
COMING YEARS IF
POLICY MAKERS
DO NOT ACT.
”
Anpara thermal power plant on the outskirts of Dibulganj, Uttar Pradesh.
© Greenpeace / Sudhanshu Malhotra
Coal Kills
3
© Greenpeace / Peter Caton
Adverse effects of fine particle pollution occur even at low ambient concentrations,
suggesting there is no “safe” threshold.6 (REF-9) Studies have also identified plausible
biological mechanisms such as systemic inflammation, accelerated atherosclerosis,
and altered cardiac function to explain the serious health impacts associated with
exposure to fine particles.7 Because most fine particle-related deaths are thought
to occur within a year or two of exposure, reducing power plant pollution will have
almost immediate benefits.8
Given the country’s dependence on coal for electricity, and the absence of effective
pollution controls, persistently elevated levels of fine particle pollution are common
across large parts of the country, particularly in Central and Northern India.
WHAT ARE FINE PARTICLES?
Fine particles are a mixture of pollutants such as soot, acid droplets, heavy metals etc that originate primarily from
combustion sources such as power plants, diesel trucks, buses, and cars. Fine particles are referred to as “PM2.5” or
particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (2.5 millionths of a meter in diameter – less than one-thirtieth the width
of a human hair). Fine particles are either soot emitted directly from these combustion sources or formed in the
atmosphere from sulphur dioxide (SO2) or nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. The smallest fine combustion particles
are of the gravest concern because they are so tiny that they can be inhaled deeply, evading the human lung’s
defences and be absorbed into the blood stream and transported to vital organs.
Power plants in Singrauli region.
© Greenpeace / Sudhanshu Malhotra
4
Coal Kills
METHODOLOGY
To analyze adverse health impacts from current levels of power plant emissions
in India, we estimated emission data and applied methodologies which have
been extensively peer-reviewed. An estimate of emissions based on plant and
fuel characteristics was necessary as India has no continuous and open emission
monitoring data available at the plant level, making enforcement of what standards
do exist nearly non-existent.
For each plant, the CEA database includes annual coal consumption rate,
total emissions, number of stacks per plant, and stack parameters like location in
longitude and latitude, suitable for atmospheric dispersion modelling. The total
emission rates are calculated based on the boiler size, coal consumption rates,
and control equipment efficiencies, which is collected from thermal power plant
performance reports published by CEA.
The dispersion modelling was conducted utilising the ENVIRON Comprehensive Air Quality Model with Extensions (CAMx) version 5.40 and
meteorological data (3D wind, temperature, pressure, relative humidity, and
precipitation fields) from the National Center for Environmental Prediction
(NCEP Reanalysis) to estimate incremental changes in the ambient pollutant
concentrations due to the presence of coal-fired power plants in the region.
We estimate the health impacts based on concentration-response functions,
based on methodology applied for similar studies such as for the GBD assessments
for 20109 and 200010; for health impacts of urban air pollution in the cities of
Santiago, Mexico city, and Sao Paulo11; and for benefits of better environmental
regulations in controlling pollution from coal fired power plants in India.12
We also estimate morbidity in terms of asthma cases, chronic bronchitis,
hospital admissions, and work days lost. The concentration-response functions
for morbidity are extracted from Abbey et al.13 and Croitoru et al.14 The
health impacts are calculated for the base year 2010, by overlaying the gridding
population with the modeled PM10 pollution from the coal fired power plants.
Total premature mortality using for the range of mortality risks ranged between
80,000 and 115,000 per year.
The value of statistical life is established from surveys based on “willing to pay”
by individuals for benefits associated with the health impacts. This methodology
has been applied in a number of countries and cities.15 The health costs based
on value of statistical life is an uncertain estimate that has a range depending on
methods. Using a conservative value of 2,000,000 Rupees (40,000 USD) per life
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5
lost, the premature mortality estimates from this study would result in a health
cost of 16,000 to 23,000 crores Rupees (USD 3.2 to 4.6 billion) annually.
In table below, we also present the estimated range of premature deaths for the
population exposed in the sub-regions. The regions 1 (Delhi-Haryana-UP) and 6
(WB-JH-BH) are the densest, with average population density above 1000 per sq.
km, with peaks of more than 10,000 per sq. km. in the cities of Delhi (capital of
India) and Kolkata (capital of WB). These regions also experience highest risk of
exposure. These seven sub-regions account for 40% of the total premature deaths
estimated for India.
Installed capacity, modeled daily average PM10 concentrations, health impacts of emissions from coal fired
power plants for 7 regions at finer resolution in India in 2011-12
No.
Cluster
(size in degrees)
Regional features
No. of plants
(those more
than 1000MW)
Installed
capacity
(MW)
Modeled
PM10 a
- median
(95th
percentile)
μg/m3
Estimated
premature
mortality
within the
region b
1
Delhi – Haryana
Delhi is the national
capital, listed among the top 10
cities with worst air quality in
the world (WHO, 2011) and
Haryana is an agricultural state
8 (5)
8080
3.9 (7.7)
6400-8800
2
Kutch (Gujarat)
(2.5° x 2.5°)
Two super-critical power plants
are commissioned in Mundra
(Gujarat), both private, operated
by Tata and Adani power groups
5 (2)
9900
1.0 (2.8)
100-120
3
Western-MH
(2.5° x 2.5°)
Including Mumbai, the most
commercial and congested city
in the country
3 (1)
2780
0.9 (2.3)
1700-2400
4
Eastern MH and
Northern AP
(3.0° x 4.0°)
All plants are located closer to
the coal belts of Chandarpur and
Ghugus (Maharashtra - MH) and
Singareni (Andhra Pradesh - AP)
10 (6)
14,800
3.2 (5.1)
1100-1500
5
MP-CH-JH-OR
(4.0° x 4.5°)
This the densest cluster region
of the seven covering four states
– Madhya Pradesh (MP),
Jharkhand (JH), Chhattisgarh (CH)
and Orissa (OR) and home to the
largest coal fields of Jharia,
Dhanbad, Korba, Singrauli,
Karanpura, and Mahanadi
21 (10)
29,900
9.1 (23.1)
7900-11000
6
WB-JH-BH
(3.0° x 4.0°)
This is the second densest cluster
region covering clusters in
West Bengal (WB), JH, and
Bihar (BH) sourcing mostly from
Raniganj and Jharia coal belts
19 (7)
17,100
3.7 (5.6)
10700-14900
7
Eastern AP
(2.5° x 2.5°)
Another coastal cluster including
the port city of Vishakhapatnam
2 (2)
3000
0.8 (1.8)
1100-1500
a - the PM10 concentrations are modeled grid averages – grid resolution is 0.1°, equivalent of 10km
Median and 95th percentile value is based on averages for all the grids in the select sub-regional domain
b – this is the estimate for the exposed population in the select geographical sub-region, but the influence of
the power plant emissions reaches farther (illustrated in the forward trajectories – Figure10)
6
Coal Kills
Figure 2 shows how these health risks and costs are distributed geographically.
Those areas with the highest concentration of coal plants bear a disproportionate
share of the aggregate burden of adverse impacts. Similarly, metropolitan areas
with large populations near coal-fired power plants feel their impacts most acutely.
In larger metropolitan areas, many hundreds of lives are shortened each year at
current levels of power plant pollution.
CONCLUSION: THE NEED FOR ACTION
The shocking figures of sickness, premature mortality (and the resulting
financial costs) attributable to coal-fired power plants in India demonstrates
the need to implement long overdue pollution control regulations. These
include mandating flue gas desulphurization and introduction/tightening
of emission standards for pollutants such as SO2 and NOx. India’s emission
standards for power plants lag far behind those of China, Australia, the EU
and the USA
Equally if not more important is the need to update the procedures for
environment impact assessments for existing and newer plants to take into
account the human health toll from coal emissions. Also necessary are
measures to ensure that these norms and standards are actually adhered to,
with deterrents for non-compliance.
The unacceptably high annual burden of death and disease from coal
in India points to the need for significantly stronger measures to control
coal-related pollution. Without a national commitment to bring emission
Coal Kills
7
“
INDIA’S EMISSIONS
STANDARDS LAG
BEHIND CHINA,
THE US, EU AND
AUSTRALIA.
HUNDREDS OF
THOUSANDS OF
LIVES AND CRORES
OF RUPEES COULD
BE SAVED WITH
CLEANER FUELS,
STRICTER EMISSIONS
STANDARDS AND
EMISSION CONTROL
TECHNOLOGIES.
”
standards on par with other world leaders, deploy the most advanced
pollution control technologies, implement cost-effective efficiency
improvements, and increase the use of inherently cleaner sources of
electricity, the Business As Usual Scenario will ensure that hundreds of
thousands of lives will continue to be lost due to emissions from coal power
plants. Any attempts to weaken even the current environmental regulations
will add to this unfolding human tragedy.
Hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved, and millions of asthma
attacks, heart attacks, hospitalizations, lost workdays and associated costs
to society could be avoided, with the use of cleaner fuels, stricter emission
standards and the installation and use of the technologies required to
achieve substantial reductions in these pollutants. These technologies are
both widely available and very effective.
Cleaning up our nation’s power sector by strengthening and finalizing
stringent emission standards, as well as by reducing mercury and other
toxics would provide a host of benefits – prominent among them the
longevity of crores of Indians – and would help propel the nation to a
healthier and more sustainable energy future.
Summary of emission standards for coal-fired power plants
Country
PM
SO2
NO2
Mercury
India a
350mg/Nm3 for <210MW
150mg/Nm3 for >210MW
None
None
None
China b
30mg/Nm3 (proposed all)
20mg/Nm3 for key regions
50mg/Nm3 for key regions
100mg/Nm3 for new
200mg/Nm3 for old
100mg/Nm3
None
Australia c
100mg/Nm3 for 1997-2005
50mg/Nm3 after 2005
standards
None
800mg/Nm3 for 1997-2005
500mg/Nm3 after 2005
In discussion
based on USA
European
Union c
Pre-2003
100mg/Nm3 for <500MW
50mg/Nm3 for >500MW
Post 2003
50mg/Nm3 for <100MW
30mg/Nm3 for >100MW
Pre-2003
Scaled for <500MW
400mg/Nm3 for >500MW
Post 2003
850mg/Nm3 for <100MW
200mg/Nm3 for >100MW
Pre-2003
600mg/Nm3 for <500MW
500mg/Nm3 for >500MW
Post 2003
400mg/Nm3 for <100MW
200mg/Nm3 for >100MW
In discussion
USA c, d
37 mg/Nm3 for new
6 mg/Nm3 for old
245 mg/Nm3 for new
50 mg/Nm3 for old
61 mg/Nm3 for new
42 mg/Nm3 for old
USA c, e
6.4 gm/GJ
640 gm/MWh
720 gm/MWh for old
450 gm/MWh for new
0.01 gm/MWh for IGCC
0.08 gm/MWh for lignite
a – from Central Pollution Control Board (India) (http://cpcb.nic.in/Industry_Specific_Standards.php). Last accessed Feb 17th, 2013. Besides PM, only national
ambient standards exist
b – from standards information in Chinese (http://www.zhb.gov.cn/gkml/hbb/qt/201109/t20110921_217526.htm). Last accessed Feb 17th, 2013. Prior to 2011,
the standards were based on commissioning year (before 1996, 1997 to 2004, and after 2004)
c – Power stations emissions handbook (http://www.ccsd.biz/PSE_Handbook). Last accessed Feb 17th, 2013
d – Emission rates are translated to mg/Nm3 based on assumed plant efficiency;
e – in official units; for mercury this is based on 12 month rolling average
8
Coal Kills
Source: IEA 2012. Technology Roadmap, High Efficiency, Low Emissions Coal Fired Power Generation.
End Notes:
1
http://cea.nic.in/reports/yearly/energy_generation_11_12.pdf
2
For example, Brunekreef, B., 1997. Air pollution and life expectancy: is there a relation? Occupational and Environmental Medicine 54, 781; Pope III, C.A., Burnett, R.T.,
Thun, M.J., Calle, E.E., Krewski, D., Ito, K., Thurston, G.D., 2002. Lung cancer, cardiopulmonary mortality, and long-term exposure to fine particulate air pollution. JAMA: the
journal of the American Medical Association 287, 1132-1141; HEI, 2004. Health Effects of Outdoor Air Pollution in Developing Countries of Asia: A Literature Review, Special
Report 15, Health Effects Institute, Boston, USA; Laden, F., Schwartz, J., Speizer, F.E., Dockery, D.W., 2006. Reduction in fine particulate air pollution and mortality extended
follow-up of the Harvard six cities study. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 173, 667-672.; Schwartz, J., Coull, B., Laden, F., Ryan, L., 2008. The
effect of dose and timing of dose on the association between airborne particles and survival. Environ. Health Perspect. 116, 64.; Pope III, C.A., Ezzati, M., Dockery, D.W.,
2009. Fine-particulate air pollution and life expectancy in the United States. New England Journal of Medicine 360, 376-386; USEPA, 2009. Integrated Science Assessment for
Particulate Matter (Final Report). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Report No. EPA/600/R-08/139F, Washington DC, USA; HEI, 2010. Outdoor Air Pollution and Health in
the Developing Countries of Asia: A Comprehensive Review, Special Report 18, Health Effects Institute, Boston, USA; Atkinson, R.W., Cohen, A., Mehta, S., Anderson, H.R.,
2011. Systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological time-series studies on outdoor air pollution and health in Asia. Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health 5, 383-391;
Lancet, 2012. Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. The Lancet Series, Published on December 13th, 2012, Elsevier Publishers, London, UK.
3
For example, Wong, C.-M., Vichit-Vadakan, N., Kan, H., Qian, Z., 2008. Public Health and Air Pollution in Asia (PAPA): A Multicity Study of Short-Term Effects of Air Pollution
on Mortality. Environ Health Perspect 116; Balakrishnan, K., Ganguli, B., Ghosh, S., Sambandam, S., Roy, S., Chatterjee, A., 2011. A spatially disaggregated time-series
analysis of the short-term effects of particulate matter exposure on mortality in Chennai, India. Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health, 1-11.
4
For example, Robert D. Brook, Barry Franklin, Wayne Cascio, Yuling Hong, George Howard, Michael Lipsett, Russell Luepker, Murray Mittleman, Jonathan Samet, Sidney
C. Smith, Jr, and Ira Tager. Air Pollution and Cardiovascular Disease: A Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the Expert Panel on Population and Prevention Science
of the American Heart Association, Circulation, Jun 2004; 109: 2655 – 2671; Sun, Q, et al (2005). Long-term air pollution exposure and acceleration of atherosclerosis in
an animal model. Journal of the American Medical Association. V. 294, no. 23 p. 3003-3010; Miller, K., Siscovik, D., Sheppard, L., Shepherd, K., Sullivan, J., Anderson, G.
and Kaufman, J. (2007). Long-term exposure to air pollution and incidence of cardiovascular events in women. New England Journal of Medicine, v. 356, No. 5, p. 447-458,
February 1, 2007; Peters, Annette, and Pope, C.A., Cardiopulmonary Mortality and Air Pollution, 360 The Lancet 1184 (October 19, 2002).
5
For example, Laden, F., J. Schwartz, F.E. Speizer, and D.W. Dockery. 2006. Reduction in Fine Particulate Air Pollution and Mortality. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical
Care Medicine 173:667-672; Pope, C. A., 3rd, R. T. Burnett, M. J. Thun, E. E. Calle, D. Krewski, K. Ito and G. D. Thurston. 2002. Lung cancer, cardiopulmonary mortality, and
long-term exposure to fine particulate air pollution. JAMA. Vol. 287 (9): 1132-41; Pope, C.A., Ezzati, M., Dockery, D. (2009). Fine particulate air pollution and life expectancy in the
United States. New England Journal of Medicine, v. 360, no. 4, January 23, 2009; Brunekreef, B., Air Pollution and Life Expectancy: Is There a Relation? 54 Occup. Environ. Med.
781–84 (1997). U.S. EPA, OAR, “Final Report to Congress on Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act, 1970 to 1990”, EPA 410-R-97-002 (October 1997) at I-23.
6
For example, Schwartz J; Coull B; Laden F; Ryan L (2008). The effect of dose and timing of dose on the association between airborne particles and survival. Environ
Health Perspect, 116: 64- 69; EPA (2009) Integrated Scientific Assessment for Particulate Matter, EPA/600/R-08/139F, p. 2- 26. Available at: http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/
recordisplay.cfm?deid=216546; Brauer, M., Brumm, J., Vedal, S., and Petkau, A. J. (2002). Exposure misclassification and threshold concentrations in time series analysis
of air pollution health effects. Risk Anal. 22, 1183–1193; Vedal, Sverre, Brauer, Michael, White, Richard, and Petkau, John, Air Pollution and Daily Mortality in a City with Low
Levels of Pollution, 111 Environ Health Perspectives 45–51 (2003).
7
C. Arden Pope, III, Richard T. Burnett, George D. Thurston, Michael J. Thun, Eugenia E. Calle, Daniel Krewski, and John J. Godleski. Cardiovascular
Mortality and Long-Term Exposure to Particulate Air Pollution: Epidemiological Evidence of General Pathophysiological Pathways of Disease Circulation, Jan 2004; 109: 71 – 77.
8
Schwartz J; Coull B; Laden F; Ryan L (2008). The effect of dose and timing of dose on the association between airborne particles and survival. Environ Health Perspect,
116: 64-69.
9
10
Lancet, 2012. Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. The Lancet Series, Published on December 13th, 2012, Elsevier Publishers, London, UK.
Ostro, B., 2004. Outdoor air pollution. WHO Environmental Burden of Disease Series.
11
Bell, M.L., Davis, D.L., Gouveia, N., Borja-Aburto, V.H., Cifuentes, L.A., 2006. The avoidable health effects of air pollution in three Latin American cities: Santiago, São
Paulo, and Mexico City. Environmental Research 100, 431-440.
12
Cropper, M., Gamkhar, S., Malik, K., Limonov, A., Partridge, I., 2012. The Health Effects of Coal Electricity Generation in India. Resources for the Future Discussion Paper.
13
Abbey, D.E., Lebowitz, M.D., Mills, P.K., Petersen, F.F., Beeson, W.L., Burchette, R.J., 1995. Long-Term Ambient Concentrations of Particulates and Oxidants and
Development of Chronic Disease in a Cohort of Nonsmoking California Residents. Inhalation Toxicology 7, 19-34.
14
Croitoru, L., Sarraf, M., 2012. Benefits and Costs of the Informal Sector: The Case of Brick Kilns in Bangladesh. Journal of Environmental Protection 3, 476-484.
15
Bell, M.L., Morgenstern, R.D., Harrington, W., 2011. Quantifying the human health benefits of air pollution policies: Review of recent studies and new directions in
accountability research. Environmental Science & Policy 14, 357-368.; Chikkatur, A.P., Chaudhary, A., Sagar, A.D., 2011. Coal Power Impacts, Technology, and Policy:
Connecting the Dots. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 36, 101-138; Some example studies include: Alberini, A., Cropper, M., Fu, T.-T., Krupnick, A., Liu, J.-T.,
Shaw, D., Harrington, W., 1997. Valuing Health Effects of Air Pollution in Developing Countries: The Case of Taiwan. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management
34, 107-126;
Coal Kills
9
KEY MESSAGES
 66% of India’s power generation is coal-fired. The vast majority of capacity
additions planned are also coal-based - the 12th five year plan (2012-2017)
specifies a total addition of 76GW and the 13th five year plan (2017-2022) is
for 93GW.
 In 2011-12, particulate emissions from coal-fired power plants, resulted in
an estimated 80,000 to 115,000 premature deaths and more than 20 million
asthma cases, which cost the public and the government an estimated 16,000
to 23,000 crores Rupees (USD 3.2 to 4.6 billion). The largest impact of these
emissions is felt over the states of Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya
Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Indo-Gangetic plain, and most of central-east India
 Besides the emissions from the stack, fugitive dust from coal-handling units
and ash ponds (after the disposal from the plants) is of concern, particularly
given the expected increase in coal-fired power plants
 The forward trajectory analysis, using 3-dimensional meteorology, of
emissions released at the stacks show that the impacts can be observed
farther than 50-100km from the source region, increasing not only ambient
concentrations at these receptor points, but also the morbidity and mortality
risk. Additional impacts include deposition of heavy metals and sulphur
oxides on agriculture through dry and wet deposition. The environmental
impact assessments necessary for commissioning power plants should include
long-range transport to account for these impacts.
 The secondary contributions from sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides
emissions to the total fine particulate matter (with aerodynamic size less
than 2.5 micron) varies from 30-60% over Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh,
and most of central-eastern India. This is primarily due to lack of flue gas
desulfurization units for most power plants. A mandate to implement this for
all new and existing power plants will immediately result in lower ambient
particulate pollution, with related health benefits. An added important benefit
will be a reduction in the deposition of these substances over rich agricultural
lands.
 To date, pollution standards exist for ambient air quality only and not for
individual power plants, which compromises monitoring and enforcement
efforts. Only after standards are set and regulations mandated at the plant
level can we proceed to the next steps of monitoring and enforcing policy, so
as to have reduce negative environment and health impacts due to coal fired
power plants.
 For particulate matter emissions, the emission standards in India lag behind
those implemented in China, Australia, the United States and the European
Union. For other key pollutants like sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and
mercury, there are no prescribed emission standards in India.
 There is also no open and continuous emission monitoring data available
at the plant level. This renders nearly non-existent the enforcement of what
standards do exist.
 The way forward is (a) to revise the emission standards for coal power plants
for particulates and introduce new emission standards for other pollutants (b)
introduce continuous monitoring at the plant stacks, such that the data is in
the public domain in real time and (c) enforce the standards with improved
impact assessment methods with human health as the primary indicator
10
Coal Kills
COAL BASED THERMAL POWER PLANTS IN INDIA – AN ASSESSMENT OF
ATMOSPHERIC EMISSIONS, PARTICULATE POLLUTION, AND HEALTH IMPACTS
Sarath K. Guttikunda a,* and Puja Jawahar a
a
UrbanEmissions.Info, New Delhi, India
*Corresponding author; E-mail – [email protected]
ABSTRACT
Access to electricity is a basic requirement to
support a growing economy. Currently coal accounts
for 41% of the world’s electricity generation. At
approximately 210 GW, India is the 5th largest
generator of electricity in the world and will increase
in the future. Currently, 66% of this power generation
capacity is derived from coal with the vast majority
of capacity additions planned - the 12th five year
plan (2012-2017) includes an addition of 76GW and
the 13th five year plan (2017-2022) includes 93GW.
Emissions from coal-fired power are responsible for
a large mortality and morbidity burden on human
health and this paper assesses the health burden of
emissions from India’s coal fired power plants. In
2011-12, 111 coal-fired power plants with a total
generation capacity of 121GW, consumed 503 million
tons of coal, and generated an estimated 580 ktons
of particulates with diameter less than 2.5 μm, 2100
ktons of sulfur dioxides, 2000 ktons of nitrogen
oxides, 1100 ktons of carbon monoxide, 100 ktons of
volatile organic compounds and 665 million tons of
carbon dioxide annually. These emissions resulted in
80,000 to 115,000 premature deaths and more than
20.0 million asthma cases from exposure to total
PM10 pollution in 2011-2012, which cost the public
and the government an estimated 16,000 to 23,000
crores of Rupees (USD 3.2 to 4.6 billion). The largest
impact of the coal-fired power plant emissions is
felt over the states of Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra,
Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Indo-Gangetic
plain, and most of central-east India. The dispersion
modeling of emissions was conducted using CAMx
Eulerian model coupled with plume rise functions
for the point sources and meteorological data from
the NCEP reanalysis dataset. The analysis shows
that aggressive pollution control regulations such
as mandating flue gas desulfurization, introduction
and tightening of emission standards for all
criteria pollutants, and updating the procedures for
environment impact assessments for existing and
newer plants, are imperative to reduce health impacts.
KEYWORDS: Dispersion modeling; emissions
inventory; CAMx; plume rise equation; mortality;
environmental regulations
1.0
POWER GENERATION IN INDIA
Access to electricity is necessary to support
developing economies. Currently coal accounts for
41% of the world’s electricity generation (IEA, 2012).
At approximately 210 GW, India has the 5th largest
electricity generation sector in the world (captive
power plants generate about 31 GW more) with
targets of 76GW of addition in the 12th five year
plan (2012-2017) and 93GW for the 13th five year
plan (Prayas, 2011; Prayas, 2013). Thermal power
plants account for 66% of generation, hydro for 19%
and the remaining 15% from other sources including
natural gas and nuclear energy. Coal became the fuel
of choice because of its availability, especially during
the oil crisis of the 1970’s when indigenous coal was
a relatively cheap source of energy. The government
nationalized coal mines between 1970’s and set up
coal-based power plants close to major mines to
reduce the costs of transporting coal to power plants.
Coal accounts for 50-55% of the power generation
in India and for various reasons discussed below
– is only going to get larger in the coming years
(Chikkatur et al., 2011; WISE, 2012; Prayas, 2013).
In India, the supply of electricity lags behind the
demand from a growing population and economy.
Despite that, India is the 4th largest consumer of
electricity in the world. According to the Central
Electricity Authority (CEA), in 2010-11, of the
122 GW demand for electricity, only 110 GW was
supplied – which amounted to a shortfall of 10%. A
third of the population that lives in rural India does
not have access to electricity. Even those with access
in urban India have to deal with frequent power cuts
and load shedding (CEA, 2012).
Coal Kills
11
Coal-fired power comes with significant costs to
environment and human health. The water runoff
from coal washeries carries pollution loads of heavy
metals that contaminate ground water, rivers, and lakes
- thus affecting aquatic flora and fauna (Finkelman,
2007). Fly-ash residue and pollutants settle on soil
contaminating areas and are especially harmful to
agricultural activities. Most importantly for human
health, combustion of coal releases emissions of sulfur
dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate
matter (PM), carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic
compounds (VOCs), and various trace metals like
mercury, into the air through stacks that can disperse
this pollution over large areas. Chronic and acute
exposure to these pollutants has health impacts that
include respiratory illnesses, compromised immune
systems, cardiovascular conditions, and premature
death (HEI, 2004 and 2010).
The global burden of disease (GBD) for 1990-2010
quantified the trends of more than 200 causes of deaths
and listed outdoor air pollution among the top 10
causes of deaths for India (Lancet, 2012). For India,
total premature mortality due to outdoor particulate
matter (PM) pollution is estimated at 627,000. This
GBD assessment utilized a combination of ground
measurements (where available) from the cities and
substituted the remaining urban and rural area with
data retrieved from satellite measurements for PM2.5
pollution (Van Donkelaar et al., 2010). PM2.5 refers
to particulate matter less than 2.5μm in aerodynamic
diameter. The World Health Organization (WHO)
studied publicly available air quality data from 1100
cities and listed 27 cities in India among the top 100
cities with the worst air quality in the world (WHO,
2011). The ambient PM10 measurements available
between 2008 and 2010 for the top 100 cities with
the worst air quality are presented in Figure 1; with
Ludhiana, Kanpur, Delhi, and Lucknow listed in the
top 10 cities. PM10 refers to particulate matter less than
10μm in aerodynamic diameter.
A number of emissions modeling studies have
been conducted and published for the transport
sector, with improvements in understanding the
vehicle registrations numbers, vehicle movement
on the road, on-road emission factors for ambient
pollutants, total emissions, and exposure assessments
(Baidya and Borken-Kleefeld, 2009; Ramachandra
and Shwetmala, 2009; Schipper et al., 2009; CPCB,
2010; Arora et al., 2011; Apte et al., 2011; Yan et
al., 2011; Grieshop et al., 2012; Sahu et al., 2012;
Wagner et al., 2012), but only a few studies have
been conducted and published for the power sector
in similar detail. Existing studies focus on the coal
usage trends, resource management, greenhouse
gases, and innovation in use of renewable energy
(Chikkatur and Sagar, 2009; Chikkatur et al.,
2011; Prayas, 2011; Chaurdary et al., 2012; IEA,
2012; Ghose, 2012; WISE, 2012; Prayas, 2013)
and total emissions inventories for base year 2005
or older (Streets et al., 2003; Reddy et al., 2005;
Ohara et al., 2007; GAINS, 2010). Studies based
on satellite measurements (Lu and Streets, 2012;
Prasad et al., 2012) looked at the influence of power
plant emissions on the column NOx concentrations,
including the influences of other sources, but there is
limited bottom-up analysis on pollution dispersion of
emissions from the power plants.
Given the plans to greatly expand the contribution
of coal to the Indian power sector, it is vital that
decision makers understand the hidden costs of air
pollution from coal fired power plants. Technology
exists that may not eliminate the pollution in
entirety, but will reduce emissions so as to minimize
the health impacts. In this paper, we present an
updated list of coal-based power plants operational
in 2011-12, their generation capacities, coal
Figure 1: Ambient PM10 measurements between 2008 and 2010 for the top 100 cities with the worst air quality in
the world. The data is compiled from WHO (2011) and the 27 Indian cities are highlighted in black.
12
Coal Kills
consumption, and evaluation of the impacts of PM,
SO2, and NOx, emissions on ambient pollution via
dispersion modeling. We also discuss the current
environmental regulation for various pollutants and
their implication on health impacts.
2.0 ATMOSPHERIC EMISSIONS
2.1 Coal based power plants in India
The public sector operates most of the existing
coal-fired power plants in India. The public sector
entity - National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC)
was established in 1975 to accelerate the installation
of pithead coal power plants and to supply to regional
grids - installed capacity of coal power grew at an
average annual rate of 8% in the 1970s and at 10% in
the 1980s. (Chikkatur and Sagar, 2009; CEA, 2011;
CEA, 2012; WISE, 2012; Prayas, 2013).
We used the list of thermal power plants
documented by CEA (http://www.cea.nic.in) as a
starting point for building our database of operational
coal-fired power plants in the country (CEA, 2011;
CEA, 2012). We updated this database for 2011-12
representing a total generation capacity of 121GW.
We also include in the database, geographical location
in latitude and longitude, number of boiler units and
size of all known power plants operated by both public
and private entities. The power plant characteristics
by state are presented in Table 1. This data was
gathered from websites and annual reports of the
state electricity boards for public and private sectors.
The public sector entities include - National Thermal
Power Corporation; Indraprastha Power Generation
Company; Haryana Power Generation Corporation;
Punjab State Power Corporation; Rajasthan Rajya
Vidyut Utpadan Nigam; Uttar Pradesh Rajya Vidyut
Utpadan Nigam; Gujarat State Electricity Corporation;
Madhya Pradesh Power Generation Company;
Chhattisgarh State Power Generation Company;
Maharashtra State Electricity Board; Andhra Pradesh
Power Generation Corporation; Karnataka Power
Corporation; Tamil Nadu Electricity Board; The West
Bengal Power Development Corporation; Orissa
Power Generation Corporation; and Calcutta Electric
Supply Corporation. The private sector entities include
– Jindal Power; CPL India; Azure India; Adani Power;
Reliance Power; and Tata Power.
Figure 2 is a map of the coal fired power plants
in India. Power plants are clustered at pit heads of
coal mines in Central India, in northern Andhra
Pradesh, western Maharashtra, northern Chhattisgarh,
West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Orissa. A few
large power plants are located on the coast, for the
availability of cooling water from the sea and ease of
importing coal. While the coastal winds are beneficial
in some cases, the impacts are still at large for cities
in the vicinity. For example, in Chennai (Tamilnadu)
and Ahmedabad (Gujarat), each host two coal based
power plants of more than 1000MW electricity
generation and both of them are located closer to the
city premises. Chennai, being a coastal city, records a
smaller fraction of the power plant emissions in their
ambient measurements, compared to Ahmedabad,
which is in-land (Guttikunda and Jawahar, 2012).
In Delhi, up to 8% of the ambient PM pollution
can be attributed to the coal based power plants of
2000MW generation capacity (Guttikunda and
Goel, 2013). In 2010, the Ministry of Environment
and Forests (MoEF) published the results of a source
apportionment study for six cities in India (Bangalore,
Chennai, Delhi, Kanpur, Mumbai, and Pune), with
information on the contributions of local transport,
domestic, industrial, and power sectors to the ambient
pollution (CPCB, 2010). For cities like Delhi, Chennai,
Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, and some medium to
smaller size cities like Nagpur, Raipur, Ranchi, Kota,
Bhatinda, Raichur, with power plants in the vicinity
of 100km, do measure significant (5-30%) ambient
contributions from these point sources.
Figure 2: Geographical location of the operational coalbased public and private power plants in India in 2012
Coal Kills
13
2.2 Coal characteristics
Indian coal (Gondwana coal) has high ash content
(35-45%) and low calorific value (averaging 3820 kcal/
kg in 2003-04 and 3603 kcal/kg in 2010-11). The sulfur
content in Indian coals is lesser than those observed
in the United States (1.0 to 1.8%) and Chinese coals
(0.5 to 1.0%). The sulfur content in the Indian coal has
a consumption-weighted average of 0.6% (Reddy and
Venkataraman, 2002).
The high ash content and low calorific value affects
the thermal power plant’s operational efficiency
and increases emissions per kWh generated. As a
comparison, power plants in India use about 0.72±0.10
kg of coal to generate one kWh, while a power plant in
the USA of the same technology would consume 0.45
kg of coal per kWh (Chikkatur, 2008). The estimated
annual coal consumption rates by state are listed in
Table 1. The average thermal efficiency of the coal-fired
power plants in India between 2004 and 2011 remained
32-33% (CEA, 2012) while this is peaking above 35%
for the power plants in China (Seligsohn et al., 2009).
The high silica and alumina content in Indian coal
ash is another problem, as it increases ash resistivity,
which reduces the collection efficiency of electrostatic
precipitators. To address this issue, the government
has mandated the use of coal whose ash content has
been reduced to at least 34% in power plants in urban,
ecologically sensitive, and other critically polluted
areas. The compliance with this mandate has been
uncertain due to lack of continuous monitoring.
Coal obtained from opencast mines has greater
ash content – much of India’s coal is mined using
open caste methods and is likely to continue as such
(MoC, 2006). Another disincentive to use good quality
coal is inadequacy of grading systems for differential
pricing (Chikkatur, 2008). In 2005, about 110MT of
coal ash was generated in India from more than 70
thermal power plants. Estimates for 2012 put this at
170 MT per annum (Bhangare et al, 2011). In India,
approximately 13% of the fly ash byproduct is used for
brick manufacturing and other construction activities.
2.3 Total Emissions and Regulations
In India, even though 55% of the installed
capacity is based on coal, there is a conspicuous lack
of regulations for power plant stack emissions.
China, the United States, the European Union (EU)
and Australia have stronger regulations for a variety
of pollutants that affect human health (Table 2).
There is also no continuous and open emission
monitoring data available at the plant level. The
latter makes enforcement of what standards do exist,
nearly non-existent.
Table 1: Summary of annual coal consumption at the power plants in India in 2011-12
STATE
Andhra Pradesh
Bihar
Chhattisgarh
Delhi
Gujarat
Haryana
Jharkhand
Karnataka
Madhya Pradesh
Maharashtra
Orissa
Punjab
Rajasthan
Tamilnadu
Uttar Pradesh
West Bengal
Total
14
Coal Kills
Number
of plants
8
3
8
2
11
5
6
5
4
13
8
3
4
8
11
12
111
MW
10,523
2,870
9,480
840
14,710
5,860
4,548
3,680
6,703
17,560
8,943
2,620
3,490
6,210
11,997
10,695
120,727
Coal
million tons
47.4
10.2
44.5
4.8
55.9
23.9
12.0
14.6
33.1
71.5
40.7
13.2
13.2
25.8
56.0
36.1
503
kg coal/kwh
2006-07
0.72
0.94
0.72
0.77
0.65
0.70
0.75
0.69
0.79
0.73
0.73
0.66
0.67
0.72
0.80
0.69
0.73±0.10
% installed units
<210MW
65%
77%
39%
100%
69%
35%
86%
64%
79%
51%
76%
82%
44%
95%
86%
75%
70%
Table 2: Summary of emission standards for coal-fired power plants
Country
PM
SO2
NO2
Mercury
India a
350mg/Nm3 for <210MW
150mg/Nm3 for >210MW
None
None
None
China b
30mg/Nm3 (proposed all)
20mg/Nm3 for key regions
50mg/Nm3 for key regions
100mg/Nm3 for new
200mg/Nm3 for old
100mg/Nm3
None
Australia c
100mg/Nm3 for 1997-2005
50mg/Nm3 after 2005
standards
None
800mg/Nm3 for 1997-2005
500mg/Nm3 after 2005
In discussion
based on USA
European
Union c
Pre-2003
100mg/Nm3 for <500MW
50mg/Nm3 for >500MW
Post 2003
50mg/Nm3 for <100MW
30mg/Nm3 for >100MW
Pre-2003
Scaled for <500MW
400mg/Nm3 for >500MW
Post 2003
850mg/Nm3 for <100MW
200mg/Nm3 for >100MW
Pre-2003
600mg/Nm3 for <500MW
500mg/Nm3 for >500MW
Post 2003
400mg/Nm3 for <100MW
200mg/Nm3 for >100MW
In discussion
USA c, d
37 mg/Nm3 for new
6 mg/Nm3 for old
245 mg/Nm3 for new
50 mg/Nm3 for old
61 mg/Nm3 for new
42 mg/Nm3 for old
USA c, e
6.4 gm/GJ
640 gm/MWh
720 gm/MWh for old
450 gm/MWh for new
0.01 gm/MWh for IGCC
0.08 gm/MWh for lignite
a – from Central Pollution Control Board (India) (http://cpcb.nic.in/Industry_Specific_Standards.php). Last accessed Feb 17th, 2013. Besides PM, only national
ambient standards exist
b – from standards information in Chinese (http://www.zhb.gov.cn/gkml/hbb/qt/201109/t20110921_217526.htm). Last accessed Feb 17th, 2013. Prior to 2011,
the standards were based on commissioning year (before 1996, 1997 to 2004, and after 2004)
c – Power stations emissions handbook (http://www.ccsd.biz/PSE_Handbook). Last accessed Feb 17th, 2013
d – Emission rates are translated to mg/Nm3 based on assumed plant efficiency;
e – in official units; for mercury this is based on 12 month rolling average
For 2011-12, we estimated the annual emissions
at 580 ktons for PM2.5, 1200 ktons for PM10, 2100
ktons of SO2, 2000 ktons of NOx, 1100 ktons of CO,
100 ktons of VOCs and 665 million tons of carbon
dioxide (CO2). The total estimated emissions by state
are presented in Table 3. For each plant in the state,
the database includes annual coal consumption rate,
total emissions, number of stacks per plant, and stack
parameters like location in longitude and latitude,
suitable for atmospheric dispersion modeling. The
total emission rates are calculated based on the boiler
size, coal consumption rates, and control equipment
efficiencies, which is collected from thermal power
plant performance reports published by CEA.
All the stack emissions at the power plants are
monitored and regulated as concentrations only and
not in terms of total emissions per plant. For example,
for PM, the plants with generation capacity more than
210MW, the concentration limit in the flue gas is 150
mg/Nm3 and for the plants with generation capacity
of less than 210MW, the limit is 300 mg/Nm3. These
limits are much higher than the currently practiced
limits in Australia, China, USA, and EU. The limit for
the smaller plants can be reverted to 150 mg/Nm3, if
they are located in an urban, ecologically sensitive,
and other critically polluted areas – which is at the
discretion of MoEF. A breakup in the emissions
regulation at 210MW also led to installation of
smaller boilers at most of the power plants (Table 1).
Approximately 70% of the operational units in the
country are of the size less than or equal to 210MW
and these units tend to have the worst net efficiency
and plant load factor. The newer plants are mostly
500MW or higher with the best net efficiency of more
than 33% (CEA, 2012). Hence, efficiency improvement
of existing older power plants and tightening of
emission standards for all sizes should become a
critical component for reducing the coal consumption
and atmospheric emissions. Differential emission
regulations also tend to result in use of control
equipment with low efficiency and higher emissions.
Particulate matter (PM) is the only pollutant for
which any pollution controls are widely used in India.
A schematic of a coal-fired power plant is presented
Coal Kills
15
Table 3: Total annual emissions (rounded) from coal based power plants in India in 2011-12
STATE
Andhra Pradesh
Bihar
Chhattisgarh
Delhi
Gujarat
Haryana
Jharkhand
Karnataka
Madhya Pradesh
Maharashtra
Orissa
Punjab
Rajasthan
Tamilnadu
Uttar Pradesh
West Bengal
PM2.5
tons
51,500
15,500
39,000
7,500
53,000
23,500
15,500
17,500
49,500
80,500
40,000
16,500
14,500
36,500
83,500
40,000
PM10
tons
107,500
31,000
84,000
14,500
111,000
50,000
31,500
36,000
100,000
167,000
85,000
34,000
30,000
74,000
168,500
83,500
SO2
tons
199,500
43,000
187,000
20,500
214,000
100,500
50,500
61,500
139,500
300,500
171,000
56,000
55,500
108,500
235,500
152,000
NOx
tons
187,500
39,500
172,500
20,000
220,000
93,500
48,500
58,500
130,500
278,500
159,500
53,000
52,000
104,500
225,000
143,000
Total
580,000
1,200,000
2,100,000
2,000,000 1,100,000
in Figure 3 that shows flue gas from the boilers at
high temperature and velocity passing through heat
exchangers to recycle the residual energy. This then
enters the particulate control equipment (ESP and
cyclone bag filters) for removal of entrained ash.
Electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) are installed in all
coal-fired power plants. As removal efficiencies at
ESPs are higher for coarse particles, most of the PM
dispersing from the top of the stack is in the size
range of respirable PM (10μm or less). Lu et al. (2010)
Figure 3: Simplified schematics of coal-fired power
plant operations
16
Coal Kills
CO
tons
104,000
22,500
97,500
11,000
122,500
52,500
26,500
32,000
73,000
156,500
89,500
29,000
29,000
56,500
122,500
79,000
VOC
tons
9,500
2,500
9,000
1,000
11,500
5,000
2,500
3,000
7,000
14,500
8,500
3,000
3,000
5,500
11,500
7,500
CO2
million tons
62.8
13.5
58.9
6.4
74.0
31.7
15.9
19.4
43.9
94.6
53.9
17.5
17.5
34.2
74.1
47.8
100,000
665.4
measured fractions of 50-60% PM2.5 and 90-95% PM10
in the total filterable PM in the flue gas at a 660MW
power plant. The PM in the flue gas also contains
high concentrations of heavy metals such as arsenic,
lead, cadmium, mercury, copper, and zinc, which not
only contributes to potential health hazard than the
bottom ash (Finkelman, 2007), but also increases the
resistivity and reduces the ESP collection efficiency
to as low as 98%. Reddy et al. (2005) measured the
chemical composition of the bottom ash, fly ash, and
flue gas from a coal fired power plant in the western
India and estimated 1-7% of zinc, 2-7% of copper,
5-8% of manganese, 7-10% of cobalt, 12-18% of
cadmium, 60-70% of selenium, 70-80% of mercury,
and traces of arsenic, iron, lead, and chromium
contained in the coal was emitted in the flue gas.
Similar levels of entrainment were reported in an
estimate of total trace metal emissions from coal fired
power plants in China (Chen et al., 2013).
Besides flue gas PM emissions, fugitive dust from
coal-handling plants and ash ponds (after the disposal
from the plants) is a problem. According to CEA, after
the combustion and application of control equipment,
ash collection at the power plants ranged 70-80%
of the total ash in the coal. It is assumed that the
remaining ash is dispersed from the stacks. In 2003, an
amendment notification from MoEF mandated 25%
bottom ash in all brick kilns within 100km radius of
any coal based thermal power plant and all building
construction within 100km for any coal based thermal
power plant to use 100% ash based bricks, blocks,
and tiles. To date percentage of ash utilized in the
construction industry is low.
There are no legally mandated emission standards
for SO2. Only a handful of coal-fired power plants
operate flue gas desulfurization (FGD) units and
among those to be commissioned through 2020, only
7 power plants are listed to have FGD (Prayas, 2011).
The FGD systems could range from in furnace control
via limestone injection, wet scrubbing of flue gas,
to capturing SO2 in the flue gas through industrial
processes (Figure 3). Presence of FGD at the plants
further improves removal of PM. In India, for SO2,
only the stack heights are mandated assuming that the
emissions will be dispersed to farther distances and
thus diluting the ambient concentrations. For example,
MoEF requires all power plants with generation
capacity more than 500MW to build a stack of 275m;
those between 210MW and 500MW to build a stack
of 220m; and those with less than 210MW to build
a stack based on the estimated SO2 emissions using
a thumb rule of height = 14*(Q)0.3 where Q is the
estimated SO2 emissions rate in kg/hr. The stack
heights for old and new power plants ranged between
150m and 275m.
Despite an estimated 30% of the total NOx emissions
in India originating from power generation (Garg et
al., 2006), currently, there are no regulations to control
these emissions for coal fired power plants. Some of
the new installations and extensions are equipped with
low-NOx burners, with little details on their operational
performance (Chikkatur et al., 2011).
Few studies have reported emission rates and total
emissions from the power plants in India. One national
emissions inventory for the coal and gas based power
plants is maintained by the GAINS program at the
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
(IIASA, Austria), which for the base year 2005,
estimated total emissions of 490 ktons for PM2.5, 1900
ktons for SO2, 1300 ktons for NOx, 43 ktons of VOCs.
A major difference between this inventory and our
study is in the database of plants, which we updated
for the new installations and extensions for the existing
plants, and assumed control efficiencies. A database of
coal characteristics, control efficiencies, and emission
rates is available online (GAINS, 2010). Another global
emissions inventory by specific sectors is EDGAR with
estimates for base year 2008 (http://edgar.jrc.ec.europa.
eu). Average emission factors for PM, SO2, NOx, CO,
and BC for all combustion sectors for base year 2000
are presented in Streets et al., (2003).
The CEA also reports, as part of the performance
evaluation of the thermal power plants, the emissions
for total suspended PM in mg/Nm3 (CEA, 2012).
Since, these are not continuous measurements
and mostly observed at select times during the
year, it was difficult to either confirm or reject the
estimates based on them. Kansal et al. (2009) studied
the emissions from six coal and gas based power
plants in and surrounding Delhi metropolitan area,
based on the reported measurements, which tend
to underestimate the contribution of power plant
emissions to the region (Guttikunda and Goel,
2013). Similarly, based on intermittent measurements
Cropper et al. (2012) estimated average emissions of
110kons/year for PM2.5 from 92 coal fired
power plants.
For NOx, Prasad et al. (2012) studied the influence
of thermal power plants on tropospheric NO2 column
measurements from the ozone monitoring instrument
(OMI) onboard aura satellite (http://aura.gsfc.nasa.
gov) and also studied the algorithm to deduce ground
level concentrations, which could reflect the power
plant emissions. This study particularly highlights
the cluster regions over the states of Delhi, Haryana,
Indo-Gangetic plains, and most of central India with
the highest concentrations possibly originating from
the power plants. Lu and Streets (2012) also studied
the satellite data and further estimated the emissions
based on boiler size and coal consumed for the period
between 1996 and 2010, which overlays the changes
in satellite observations to the newer installations
and extensions commissioned during this period.
They estimated a 70% increase in the column NOx
concentrations during this period, with the power
plants contributing a total estimated 2300 ktons
NOx emissions for 2010.
We summarized the regional emission factors
for the coal based power plants in Table 4 in both tons/
PJ and tons/hr. The latter is for comparisons with any data
available from the online monitoring. Previously published
studies are regional estimates either for all of India as one
and in general for the power plants in Asia, and most
are estimated for the base year 2000-05 and prior. A
serious lack of availability of the data from the continuous
monitoring at the power plants, for all pollutants, results
in these high ranges of estimates and uncertainty in
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17
Table 4: Regional emission factors database
Resource
This study
a, 1
Base year
PM2.5
PM10
SO2
NOx
CO
VOC
2011-12
49-68
90-138
174-192
177-189
100
9
400-762
219-562
Streets et al. (2003) 1
2000
GAINS (2010) (base) b, 1
2000-05
53-261
18-374
69-1380
100-270
1-15
GAINS (2010) (controlled) c, 1
2000-05
13-27
19-43
27-69
20-54
1-15
Ohara et al. (2007) d, 1
2000
504
267
154
Garg et al. (2006) e, 1
2000
367
205
56
Lu and Streets (2012) f, 1
1996-2006
This study
g, 2
Kansal et al. (2009) h, 2
2011-12
251
177-410
0.3-1.4
2004-05
0.6-2.8
1.0-4.0
0.9-3.7
0.7-1.1
4.0-5.0
1.2-1.8
0.5-2.0
0.05-0.2
1 – units: tons/PJ
2 – units: tons/hr
a – the range corresponds to the averages over the states
b – base line factors for various technologies without or limited controls, global program
c – base line factors with best available control technology for each pollutant, global program
d – the emission factor segregation was for China, Japan, and Others in Asia
e – calculated as ratios of total emissions and coal consumption corresponding to the power sector, PM factor
is for total suspended particulates
f – the range corresponds to coal fired boilers with and without low NOx burner technology, by boiler size
g – range corresponds to the estimated average emission rate per plant in each state
h – PM factor is for total suspended particulates; based on measurements at one station in Delhi per stack
the emission factors. The overall uncertainty in the
total emission estimates is ±30%, stemming from the
variations in the information at the plant level on in-use
coal characteristics, coal consumption rates, efficiencies in
control operations, and emission factors.
3.0 ATMOSPHERIC DISPERSION
3.1 Study Domain
For the dispersion modeling and health impacts
analysis of emissions from coal based power plants,
we selected the study domain ranging from 7° to
39° in latitudes and 37° to 99° in longitudes at 0.25°
horizontal resolution. The vertical resolution of the
model extends to 12km stretched over 23 layers with
the lowest layer designated at 50m and six layers with
1km to advance vertical advection closer to the ground
level. The geography of the study domain is presented
in Figure 2, along with the location of the power
plants and their generation capacity.
3.2 Dispersion Model
We utilized the ENVIRON - Comprehensive Air
Quality Model with Extensions (CAMx) version
5.40, an Eulerian photochemical dispersion model,
18
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suitable for integrated assessments of gaseous and
particulate air pollution over many scales ranging from
sub-urban to continental. This model unifies all the
necessary technical features of a “state-of-the-science”
air quality model into a single open-source system
that is computationally efficient, easy to use, and
publicly available (http://www.camx.com). The model
utilizes full gas phase SAPRC chemical mechanism
(Carter, 2000) (217 reactions and 114 species) with
two mode coarse/fine PM fractions including gas
to aerosol conversions, for SO2 to sulfates, NOx to
nitrates, and VOCs to secondary organic aerosols
(SOA). The removal processes include dry deposition
schemes using an updated approach of Zhang et
al. (2001; 2003) with 26 landuse patterns and wet
deposition due to predominant meteorological
conditions. Recent CAMx applications for similar
modeling exercises include Huang et al. (2010) - an
urban scale study to quantify the contributions of
various sources to PM10 pollution in Beijing, China;
Sun et al. (2012) - a regional study to simulate the
changes in ozone concentrations due to new NOx
emission regulations in the power plants in Eastern
USA; Emery et al. (2012) - a study on sources of
background ozone concentrations over the USA and
its policy implications; Wu et al. (2013) - a regional
study evaluating the control policies for the sources of
PM2.5 in the Pearl River Delta region.
For the modeling domain, the meteorological data
(3D wind, temperature, pressure, relative humidity,
and precipitation fields) is derived from the National
Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP, 2012)
global reanalysis database for the base year 2010 and
processed through the RAMS meteorological model
(version 6.0) at 1 hour temporal resolution. The initial
conditions are generated by looping the simulations
over each month for 10 days and the boundary
conditions are kept to the minimum to minimize any
influence on the ground level concentrations – this
was assigned to ease the analysis of the incremental
changes in the ground level concentrations due to
power plant emissions.
The most important advantage of CAMx is the use
of 3D meteorology and independently control plume
rise and emission release point for each power plant,
according to the stability profile at the plants location
(Turner et al., 1986). The exit velocity of the flue gas
at the stack height provides the necessary momentum
to disperse vertically, which is quickly reduced
by entrainment as the plume acquires horizontal
momentum from the wind. This causes the plume to
bend and disperse horizontally. The difference between
the temperature of the flue gas and the surrounding
atmosphere results in the buoyancy of the plume,
which further increasing the vertical release point. The
emissions for each stack are released in the vertical
layer corresponding to stack height + plume rise due
to momentum and buoyancy. We did not include
emissions from the other sectors and considered the
results of this exercise as the incremental change in the
ambient concentrations due to the presence of these
coal based power plants in the region.
3.3 Particulate Pollution
The atmospheric dispersion simulation are carried
out for 11 days per month from 10th to 21st of each
month and averaged to obtain monthly, seasonal, and
annual concentrations. The modeled annual average
PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations due to emissions
from coal based power plants only are presented
in Figure 4. These totals include both the primary
PM and secondary PM – from chemical conversion
of SO2 and NOx emissions to sulfates and nitrates,
respectively. The coarse/fine bins are modeled
independently with varying dry and wet deposition
schematics, predefined in the CAMx model. For PM10,
the sum includes coarse, fine, sulfate, and nitrate
concentrations and for PM2.5 the sum includes only
fine, sulfate, and nitrate concentrations. The national
ambient annual average standard for PM10 is 60μg/
m3 and the WHO guideline is 20μg/m3. The national
ambient annual average standard for PM2.5 is 40μg/
m3 and the WHO guideline is 10μg/m3. While the
absolute values in Figure 4 may seem small, this
should be considered as incremental pollution which
Figure 4: Modeled annual average PM10 and PM2.5 ambient concentrations due to the emissions from coal-fired
thermal power plants in India
Coal Kills
19
the population in the region is exposed to, besides
the pollution from transport, domestic, and other
industrial activities, on an annual basis.
The PM2.5 concentrations were overlaid on the annual
average concentrations retrieved from 2001-06 satellite
observations (van Donkelaar et al., 2010) to estimate
the percentage contribution of power plant emissions
to the ambient concentrations in India (Figure 5).
The data from the satellite observations has large
uncertainty, since the retrieval methodology could not
be corroborated with a large enough PM2.5 monitoring
data sample, and tend miss the urban peaks in the
southern India. However, this provides an immediate
baseline for the comparison, to identify hotspots, and
to estimate contributions. The largest impact of the
coal-based power plant emissions is felt over most of
the central-east India including states of Maharashtra,
Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Orissa, with
the highest and the largest coal based power plants.
Similar observations are reported based on satellite
measurements of column NO2 concentrations (Lu and
Streets, 2012; Prasad et al., 2012).
3.4 Secondary Chemical Contributions
The CAMx modeling system includes full gas phase
chemistry, with gas and aerosol chemical conversions
to support particulate pollution assessment. The
SAPRC chemical mechanism utilized in this model was
extended to study the secondary contribution – which
is significant in case of the coal-fired power plants in
India with no FGD systems in place. Most of the SO2
Figure 5: Percent contribution of power plant emissions
to ambient PM2.5 concentrations (based on satellite
measurements - van Donkelaar et al., 2010) in India
emissions from the plants, once airborne, are expected
to further interact with the hydroxyl radicals to form
sulfates (Carter, 2000), which in the aerosol chemistry
module are treated to form aerosol components. The
formation of nitrates is more complicated due to the
involvement of the multiple nitrogen species and
numerous chemical reactions with hydroxyl radicals
and volatile organic compounds.
The percentage contribution of the secondary
aerosols (sulfates and nitrates) to total PM10 from
the coal fired power plants in presented in Figure 6.
The maps are presented by season, DJF for winter,
MAM for spring, JJA for summer, and SON for fall
season. The highest secondary contributions were
estimated for the summer months. This is partly due
to the higher photochemical activities and presence of
oxidizing agents, which increase the oxidation of SO2
and NOx gases and their conversion rate to sulfates
and nitrates.
3.5 Meteorological Influences
Generally, the wind speeds at 200m or above is
much faster than those observed at the ground level.
The release of the emissions at the stack height plus
any uplift due to the flue gas velocity and temperature,
dictates the movement of the emissions and its vertical
diffusion towards the ground. The wind speeds and
direction have a large variation in the subcontinent
between the monsoonal and non-monsoonal months.
This variation affects the dry and wet deposition and
final ambient concentrations for all pollutants. In Figure
7, we present the monthly average concentrations due
to emissions from the coal fired power plants. The
south-west monsoons from the Arabian Sea during the
months of April to August tend to push and disperse
the emissions upwards and north, while the northeast monsoons from the Bay of Bengal Sea during the
months of October to November tend to push and
disperse the emissions inland and south resulting in a
wider spread of pollution. There is much uncertainty
in the monsoons and weather patterns that could not
only influence the pollution patterns, but there is also
growing evidence that the pollution from transport and
industrial processes can affect the monsoonal patterns
(Corrigan et al., 2006; Lau et al., 2009).
3.6 Sub-regional Pollution
The concentration maps presented in Figure 4
and Figure 7 are from CAMx model simulations at a
spatial resolution of 0.25°, which tend to average the
local influences over each of the grid boxes. In order to
better understand these local influences, we conducted
20
Coal Kills
Figure 6: Percentage contribution of secondary (sulfates and nitrates) aerosols to average PM10 concentrations by
season (Dec-Jan-Feb for winter; Mar-Apr-May for spring; Jun-Jul-Aug for summer; and Sep-Oct-Nov for fall) due to
the emissions from coal fired thermal power plants in India
CAMx dispersion model simulations for 4 inland
regions and 3 coastal regions (Figure 2) at 0.1° spatial
resolution. A summary of these regions is presented
in Table 5. The modeled daily average concentration
maps are presented in Figure 8 for the inland regions
and Figure 9 for the coastal regions.
The movement of the elevated emissions is
illustrated using meteorology of two days for three
months in Figure 10 for four clusters (a) Korba cluster
(in-land) (b) Jhajjar cluster (in-land) (c) Mundra
cluster (coastal) and (d) Mumbai cluster (coastal).
The forward trajectories are drawn for 24 hours,
with a puff released at 300m height every hour and
tracking its movement through the next 48 hours.
The lines represent only the movement of the puffs
in the horizontal direction and do not include any
information on the vertical mixing or the pollutant
concentrations. The release height of 300m is assumed,
considering the large power plants in these clusters
are mandated to have stacks of minimum 275m and
allowing 25m for additional minimum plume rise.
The Korba cluster (State: Chhattisgarh) has a
combined generation capacity of 4380MW between
four power plants located within a 10km radius.
The Jhajjar cluster (State:Haryana) has a combined
generation capacity of 2700MW between two power
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21
Figure 7: Monthly average PM10 concentrations due to the emissions from coal fired thermal power plants
in India
22
Coal Kills
Figure 8: Daily average PM10 concentrations due to the emissions from coal-fired thermal power plants in-land of
India
plants within the radius of 10km, with an additional
power plant with 1000MW under construction.
The Mundra cluster (State: Gujarat) has a combined
generation capacity of 9620 MW between two private
sector power plants located within 5km radius. The
Mumbai cluster (State: Maharashtra) has one coal based
power plant in Trombay and multiple gas powered
plants. While the impact of the emissions is felt within
200km of the power plants, under windy conditions the
influence can be tracked to distances as far as 400km
from the source region. Major cities in the Korba region
are Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Rourkela, Jabalpur, Nagpur,
and Raipur (capital of Chhattisgarh). Major cities in
the Mundra region are Jamnagar (major industrial
port), Rajkot, and Ahmedabad (300km away, with two
power plants of 1000MW in the city). The city of Delhi
is 70km from the Jhajjar cluster. The animated forward
trajectories are also available for each of these clusters
for all months and for convenience, we are presenting
only three months. An important we want to illustrate
through these forward trajectories is that the emissions
from these high stacks affects the regions and people far
away from the source region, even if the pollution levels
are diluted, compared to the original emission rates, and
this should be accounted for in the environmental and
health assessments.
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23
Table 5: Installed capacity, modeled daily average PM10 concentrations, health impacts of emissions from coal
fired power plants for 7 regions at finer resolution in India in 2011-12
No.
Cluster
(size in degrees)
Regional features
No. of plants
(those more
than 1000MW)
Installed
capacity
(MW)
Modeled
PM10 a
- median
(95th
percentile)
μg/m3
Estimated
premature
mortality
within the
region b
1
Delhi – Haryana
Delhi is the national
capital, listed among the top 10
cities with worst air quality in
the world (WHO, 2011) and
Haryana is an agricultural state
8 (5)
8080
3.9 (7.7)
6400-8800
2
Kutch (Gujarat)
(2.5° x 2.5°)
Two super-critical power plants
are commissioned in Mundra
(Gujarat), both private, operated
by Tata and Adani power groups
5 (2)
9900
1.0 (2.8)
100-120
3
Western-MH
(2.5° x 2.5°)
Including Mumbai, the most
commercial and congested city
in the country
3 (1)
2780
0.9 (2.3)
1700-2400
4
Eastern MH and
Northern AP
(3.0° x 4.0°)
All plants are located closer to
the coal belts of Chandarpur and
Ghugus (Maharashtra - MH) and
Singareni (Andhra Pradesh - AP)
10 (6)
14,800
3.2 (5.1)
1100-1500
5
MP-CH-JH-OR
(4.0° x 4.5°)
This the densest cluster region
of the seven covering four states
– Madhya Pradesh (MP),
Jharkhand (JH), Chhattisgarh (CH)
and Orissa (OR) and home to the
largest coal fields of Jharia,
Dhanbad, Korba, Singrauli,
Karanpura, and Mahanadi
21 (10)
29,900
9.1 (23.1)
7900-11000
6
WB-JH-BH
(3.0° x 4.0°)
This is the second densest cluster
region covering clusters in
West Bengal (WB), JH, and
Bihar (BH) sourcing mostly from
Raniganj and Jharia coal belts
19 (7)
17,100
3.7 (5.6)
10700-14900
7
Eastern AP
(2.5° x 2.5°)
Another coastal cluster including
the port city of Vishakhapatnam
2 (2)
3000
0.8 (1.8)
1100-1500
a - the PM10 concentrations are modeled grid averages – grid resolution is 0.1°, equivalent of 10km
Median and 95th percentile value is based on averages for all the grids in the select sub-regional domain
b – this is the estimate for the exposed population in the select geographical sub-region, but the influence of
the power plant emissions reaches farther (illustrated in the forward trajectories – Figure10)
The PM pollution from the coal-fired power plants in
Central India (sub-region 5) covering states of Madhya
Pradesh, Jharkhand, Orissa, and Chhattisgarh, is the
highest due to the density of the power plants in the
region and higher installed generation capacity because
of its proximity to the coal mines. The sub-region 1,
Delhi-Haryana, region with the highest population
density with more than 21.5 million inhabitants in Delhi
and its satellite cities, also experiences substantial PM
24
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pollution from coal fired power plants. The range of
modeled PM pollution is also presented in Table 5. The
coastal regions in Figure 9 experience the least of the
PM pollution due to strong land-sea breezes, with much
of the pollution dispersed over the seas. While the air
pollution from these coastal power plants is diluted over
the seas for some months, they are equally threatening
from water and soil pollution from the coal washeries
and ash dumps. To date the inland power plants are
Figure 9: Daily average PM10 concentrations due to the emissions from coal-fired thermal power plants in the
coastal regions of India
still the majority in the country and a serious threat to
human health and other environmental concerns.
4.0 HEALTH IMPACTS
The direct link between emissions (from transport,
power plants, household cookstoves, industries, and
fugitive dust), outdoor air pollution, and human health
has been extensively documented (Brunekreef, 1997;
Pope, et al., 2002; HEI, 2004; Laden et al., 2006;
Schwartz et al., 2008; Pope et al., 2009; USEPA, 2009;
HEI, 2010, Atkinson et al., 2011; Lancet, 2012).
Most notable of the health impacts resulting in
premature deaths include chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease, lower respiratory infections, cerebrovascular
disease, ischemic heart disease, and cancers of
trachea, bronchitis, and lung. Of all the pollutants,
the public health concerns in India are focused
on PM that contributes to a host of respiratory and
cardiopulmonary ailments and increasing the
risk of premature death. Epidemiological studies
conducted in India (Delhi and Chennai) under the
public health and air pollution in Asia (PAPA) program
also highlighted the linkages between outdoor air
pollution and premature mortality, hospital admissions,
and asthma cases (Wong et al., 2008; Balakrishnan et
al., 2011).
The morbidity and mortality burden is particularly
costly for governments in terms of work days lost,
lost productivity, and loss in terms of gross domestic
product. Since, the most PM related deaths occur within
a year or two of exposure, reducing PM pollution from
sources like transport and power plant has almost
immediate benefits for health and national economy.
4.1 Evaluation Method and Inputs
The health impacts of mortality and morbidity are
based on concentration-response functions established
from epidemiological studies. We estimate the health
impacts, using the following equation
C
where,
 = number of estimated health effects (various end
points for mortality and morbidity)
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25
Figure 10: 48 hour forward trajectories drawn over the Korba (Chhattisgarh), Jhajjar (Haryana), Mundra
(Gujarat), and Mumbai (Maharashtra) power plant clusters to illustrate the movement of the emissions for three
months, using the NOAA HYSPLIT trajectory model
26
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 = the concentration-response function; which is
defined as the change in number cases per unit
change in concentrations per capita.
C = the change in concentrations; in this paper, we
consider this as the incremental change in the
concentrations due to the emissions from all coal
based power plants
 = the population exposed to the incremental
concentration C ; defined as the vulnerable
population in each grid
This methodology of relative risk and
concentration-response function was applied for
similar studies – Lancet (2012) and Ostro (2004)
for GBD assessments for 2010 and 2000 respectively;
Bell et al. (2006) for health impawcts of urban air
pollution in the cities of Santiago, Mexico city, and Sao
Paulo; GAINS (2010) for Asia and Europe regional
studies evaluating the impacts in terms of life years lost
due to baseline air pollution or benefits in life years
saved due to future controls; Yim and Barret (2012)
for premature deaths in the United Kingdom caused
by long-range transport of combustion emissions
from the European Union; Cropper et al. (2012)
for benefits of better environmental regulations in
controlling pollution from coal fired power plants in
India; Guttikunda and Jawahar (2012) for health
impacts of urban air pollution in 2 large, 2 medium,
and 2 small cities India; Guttikunda and Goel (2013)
for a megacity Delhi and its surrounding satellite cities.
In case of mortality, Pope et al., (2006) and
Atkinson et al. (2011) presents a meta-analysis of
chronic and acute exposure studies conducted around
Figure 11: Gridded population at 0.25° spatial resolution based on Census-India (2012)
Coal Kills
27
the world and the range of concentration-response
function for PM pollution, including the results of
Wong et al. (2008) and Balakrishnan et al. (2011)
from PAPA program in Asia. Atkinson et al. (2011)
reported change in all-cause daily mortality per 10 μg/
m3 change in ambient PM10 concentrations for average
and high estimates as 0.55% and 0.8% respectively.
A combined analysis for the 4 cities under the PAPA
program in Asia reported an average value of 0.45%.
We also estimate morbidity in terms of asthma cases,
chronic bronchitis, hospital admissions, and work
days lost. The concentration-response functions for
morbidity are extracted from Abbey et al. (1995) and
Croitoru et al. (2012).
The following assumptions are applied (a) that
the concentration-response to changing air pollution
is similar to all residents in India and (b) that the
population baseline health status is similar to those
observed at the national level (CBHI, 2010). Krewski
et al. (2009) and Jahn et al. (2012) have explored
in detail the differences between the linear (used in
this study) and log-linear concentration-response
functions, which are pertinent to high PM pollution
levels observed in the Asian cities. We explored the
use of both the linear and log-linear forms of the
relative risks presented in these studies and finally,
utilized the linear correlation since the analysis is
focused on the incremental changes in concentrations
due to the power plant emissions and the focus of the
analysis is to estimate the burden of the emissions on
the health impacts.
The global burden of disease study for 2010
reported an all-cause mortality of 210-320 per 1000
male adults and 140-220 per 1000 female adults for
India (Wang et al., 2012). This was adjusted the
mortality rate due to lower and upper respiratory
illnesses (including bronchitis and asthma) and
cardio vascular diseases. Among the reported
number of deaths, these account for 15% of the
annual death rate in India (DoES, 2010).
The gridded population is estimated using
GRUMP (2010) for the model resolution of 0.25°.
The total population of 1.2 billion is adjusted to
Census-India (2012) by state totals with the urban
centers accounting for more 30% of the total. The
gridded population data is presented in Figure 11.
4.2 Mortality and Morbidity Estimates
The health impacts are calculated for the base year
2010, by overlaying the gridding population with the
modeled PM10 pollution from the coal fired power
28
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plants. Total premature mortality using for the
range of mortality risks ranged between 80,000
and 115,000 per year. The estimated mortality
and morbidity cases due to these emissions are
summarized in Table 6. We believe that our
estimations of the premature deaths and morbidity
cases are conservative. We have not included in
the analysis the impacts of the trace metals, such
as mercury and impacts due to water and soil
contamination, which could further aggravate the
overall implications of power plants. The uncertainties
involved in the risk assessments are detailed in
Atkinson et al. (2011) for the time series and Lancet
(2012) for long term integrated exposures.
In Table 5, we also present the estimated range
of premature deaths for the population exposed in
the sub-regions. The regions 1 (Delhi-Haryana-UP)
and 6 (WB-JH-BH) are the densest, with average
population density above 1000 per km2, with peaks
of more than 10,000 per km2 in the cities of Delhi
(capital of India) and Kolkata (capital of WB). These
regions also experience highest risk of exposure. For
the total premature deaths estimated for India, these
seven sub-regions account for 40% of them.
The value of statistical life is established from
surveys based on “willing to pay” by individuals for
benefits associated with the health impacts. This
methodology was applied for assessing the impacts
of current air pollution levels and for future “whatif ” scenarios in a number of countries and cities, in
spite of known uncertainties in the associated inputs,
such as the relative risk functions for health impacts
of air pollution, spatial resolution of pollution
monitoring, and monetizing impacts based on
surveys (Bell et al., 2011; Chikkatur et al., 2011).
Some example studies include Alberini et al. (1997)
for Taiwan; Kan et al., (2004) for Shanghai; Bell et
al. (2006) for Mexico City, Sao Paulo, and Santiago;
Wang and Mullahy (2006) for Chongqing; Hedley
et al. (2008) for Hong Kong; Desaigues et al. (2011)
for 9 European countries; Patankar and Trivedi
(2011) for Mumbai. The health costs based on value
of statistical life is an uncertain estimate that has a
range depending on methods. Using a conservative
value of 2,000,000 Rupees (40,000 USD) per life
lost, the premature mortality estimates from this
study would result in a health cost of 16,000 to
23,000 crores Rupees (USD 3.2 to 4.6 billion)
annually. The morbidity impacts and health costs
are listed in Table 6.
Table 6: Estimated annual health impacts and health costs due to PM pollution from the coal-fired power plants in
India for 2011-12
Effect
Health impacts
Health costs
(crores of Rupees) a
Health costs
(million USD) b
Total premature mortality
80,000 to 115,000
16,000-23,000
3300-4600
Child mortality (under 5)
10,000
2100
420
Respiratory symptoms
625 million
6200
1200
Chronic bronchitis
170,000
900
170
Chest discomforts
8.4 million
170
35
Asthma attacks
20.9 million
2100
420
Emergency room visits
900,000
320
60
Restricted activity days
160 million
8000
1600
a – one crore = 10 million
b – using conversion rate of 1 USD = 50 Rupees
5.0 SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION
Coal remains the main fossil fuel for power
generation in India. Supplies of other fuel sources such
as naphtha and natural gas are not stable and need to
be imported, which led to lesser growth in this sector.
The power sector in India is currently dealing with two
competing priorities – (a) demand for power outstrips
supply and as the economy grows, access to electricity
is increasingly an economic and a political issue (b)
power generation using coal is polluting (especially
given the low quality coal used in India) and hazards
associated with the air pollution are a serious concern.
This means, the government has a low incentive to
take action on a power plant violating environmental
norms, when struggling to meet the demand for
electricity from the domestic and manufacturing
sectors. To date, the pollution standards exist for
ambient air quality only and not for individual
power plants, which compromises the monitoring
and enforcement efforts. Only after standards are set
and regulations mandated at the plant level, can we
proceed to the next steps of monitoring and enforcing
policy, so as to have lesser environment and health
impacts due to coal fired power plants.
Of all the operational units in the country, 70%
are of the size less than or equal to 210MW and these
units tend to have the worst net efficiency and plant
load factor. We believe that a bifurcated environmental
standard for PM emissions at the stack led to this
(Table 1). For example, the Kolghat power plant in
West Bengal state has 6 units of 210MW and the
Raichur power plant in Karnataka state has 7 units
of 210MW, each with a total generation capacity of
more than 1000MW, are allowed to adhere to the
lower emission standard, only because the individual
boiler size is less than or equal to 210MW. The
efficiency improvement of existing older power plants
and tightening of emission standards for all sizes
should become a starting point for reducing the coal
consumption and atmospheric emissions. Going
forward, coal-fired power plants should be subject
to tighter emission standards based on those found
in emerging economies (like China) and developed
economies (like EU, Australia, and USA).
Unlike pollution from the transport or domestic
sector, pollution from power plants stacks is a point
source. This means that there are a finite and known
number of units from where pollution is released and
thus can be controlled. Moreover, with a majority of
the power plants run by the public sector, mandating
technologies that reduce pollution would seem to
represent a simple solution. However, power plant
regulation has thus far lagged far behind other
emerging economies and power plants by themselves
have no incentive to improve pollution control.
Combined with a strong demand for reliable electricity
and lack of supply it is doubtful that pollution will be
controlled absent strong regulation and enforcement.
The stack emissions being point sources, are limited
in number, and can be monitored relatively easily
as compared to non-point sources (such as vehicles,
garbage burning, domestic burning, and fugitive dust).
Some of the larger power plants are now equipped
Coal Kills
29
with continuous monitoring of the criteria pollutant
concentrations. However, this information is not
available in the public domain, either for analysis or
for scrutiny of the emission loads. This adds to the
uncertainty of the estimates, for analyzing the impacts
of the emissions, understanding the contribution
loads, and for planning. Besides, strengthening of
emission standards, new policies are required for
information dissemination.
From the power plants, we estimate 30-40% of the
PM pollution is secondary in nature, with the most
coming from chemical conversion of SO2 emissions.
Since a majority of the power plants in the country
do not operate a dedicated FGD system, most of the
SO2 from coal combustion is emitted and ends up
in respirable PM fraction, resulting in more health
impacts. In the environmental impact assessment
studies, required before the commissioning of a power
plant, a provision for a FGD for all power plants is
discussed for the future years, but not yet mandated.
The combined benefits of a FGD in conjunction with
the already operational ESPs at most of the power
plants will have a significant effect on overall health
impacts. We believe that FGD technology should
become mandatory for all new power plants and a
provision should be introduced to implement the same
for the larger and older power plants to control
SO2 emissions.
Air pollution is a complex mixture of pollutants
with sources ranging from fossil fuel burning in
transportation, power generation, industries, and
domestic sectors to natural sources such as dust storms
and forest fires. In this study, our objective was to
isolate the health impacts of the emissions due to coalfired power plants. We calculate the health impacts for
total PM10 which includes contributions from primary
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