|Vinh Tan 2 coal power plant in southern Binh Thuan Province. Air pollution from Vietnamese coal-fired power plants killed 4,300 people in 2011, and plants aren't reducing emissions any time soon. — Photo vietnamnet.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Air pollution from Vietnamese coal-fired power plants killed 4,300 people in 2011, and plants aren't reducing emissions any time soon, according to a recent Harvard University study.
Harvard announced findings from its new study on rising coal emissions' health effects in Southeast Asia during a conference held on Tuesday in Ha Noi titled Coal and Coal-fired Power Plants: the Unknowns. The Green Innovation and Development Centre (Green ID) organised the event.
"If new coal plant projects under development come into operation, premature deaths could rise to 25,000 per year," said Tran Dinh Sinh, the vice director of GreenID.
Deaths from coal pollution and the medical expenses incurred will inevitably escalate as Viet Nam's economy continues to grow, Sinh said.
Burning coal emits large amounts of pollutants that can spread for hundreds of kilometres, including particulate matter (solid particles in the air like dust), carbon dioxide, mercury and arsenic. Those affected face higher risks of lung cancer, nerve system diseases, and chronic respiratory and cardiovascular infections.
About 7,100 people died due to pollution in Indonesia in 2010, according to the study.
The amount of carbon dioxide in Viet Nam is expected to rise, with 50 coal-fired power plants in the works on top of 19 already existing. Thermal power plants will emit three times more ash by 2030, increasing significant impacts on community's health, GreenID researches say. — VNS