Coal projects to double Bengaluru's pollution in 10 yrs

More coal projects will double Bengaluru pollution in 10 years: Study

This is because pollution caused by coal plants travel up to 500 km and 14 per cent of India’s coal-generated electricity happens within 500 km from Bengaluru

A snapshot of a video showing the modelling of air pollution caused by coal-based power plants located 500 km away from Bengaluru. Credit: Special arrangement

Bengaluru’s air pollution, already three times above the WHO guidelines, will double within the next 10 years if the Union government goes ahead with the planned expansion of coal fleet by 28 per cent, a report by C40 Cities has warned.

C40, a network of 100 mayors of the world’s leading cities, said that India’s plans could “nearly double” the number of annual premature deaths from coal plant pollution in the city.

This is because pollution caused by coal plants travel up to 500 km and 14 per cent of India’s coal-generated electricity happens within 500 km from Bengaluru, the report noted.

The study looked into the gaps in the ambition of different countries in meeting the 1.5 degrees Celsius compliance set by the United Nations panel on climate change.

It then looked into the effect of such failures on cities.

“A 1.5°C scenario requires that coal capacity in and around C40 cities decrease by 61 per cent between 2020 and 2030. However, current coal plans within 500 km of C40 cities will actually increase coal capacity by 4 per cent between 2020 and 2030,” it noted.

Dr Rachel Huxley, Head of knowledge and research at C40, said the current national plans would expand India’s coal fleet by 28 per cent by 2030, which threatens the health and well-being of Bengaluru residents.

“Current expansion could cause 3,650 premature deaths and 3,410 pre-term births and 4,080 asthma emergency hospital visits over the next decade,” the study said, noting that pollution also impacts urban economies through a reduction in labour productivity and an increase in employee absence.

Other cities like Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi fared worse than Bengaluru due to multiple factors, including the presence of coal-based power plants within a radius of 500 km.

The study suggested that India could create 1.25 lakh new jobs in the energy sector by giving a push to solar and wind energy.

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