China Coal Plants Are Killing Quarter Million Annually

B. McPherson
Dirty coal is killing people in China
China’s great push to establish itself as the leading industrial nation has come at a heavy price. Currently there are 2 300 operating coal fired electrical plants in the country. Noxious emissions are calculated to kill about 275 000 people each year.

The figures are staggering.

WHO's Global Burden of Disease report estimated that 1.2 million people died prematurely in China in 2010 due to air pollution. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in July found that air pollution has caused the loss of more than 2.5 billion years of life expectancy in China – shaving 5.5 years off the average life expectancy. Greenpeace

Pollution and In particular, air pollution has become a flash point in the PRC. The expanding middle class in China has been objecting to the rampant pollution which sickens their children and shortens their lives.

Coal fire emissions may send their damage down the generations. A study by Columbia University Professor Deliang Tang found that children born before a particularly bad coal fired plant was closed, had compromised brain development which affected their learning and physical abilities. Children born after the air quality improved displayed normal development.

Besides the direct damage done to a fetus, the emerging science of epigenetics is looking at the effects of pollution. Changes made to the complex proteins surrounding our DNA may cause inheritable defects which will echo down the generations.

More than dirty smuts are released when coal is burned. Fluorine, arsenic, selenium and many more harmful substances may be released when coal is burned, depending on where the plants making up coal grew. Much of western coal currently being exported to Asia contains small amounts of uranium, a radioactive substance.

Opinion Recently Europe was swathed in air pollution from industry combined with sand from the Sahara. Industries need to be made to stop disposing into the air. While production costs may increase, the cost of a mentally challenged child or years knocked off your life is a much higher cost.

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