Chennai, 26 July 2014: Public health experts and medical specialists met today to make visible the health costs of India’s pursuit of coal as the energy option of choice. The Roundtable held in Chennai on the theme of “Climate Change and Health Impacts of Energy Choices – Coal” was organized by Coal and Health Initiative India a collaboration of Community Environmental Monitoring and Health Care Without Harm at Huma Specialists Hospitals & Research Center Pvt Ltd.
Proposals to generate more than 600,000 MW of electricity – 4 times India’s installed capacity – by burning coal are on the anvil in various states of India. Coal is seen as a cheap energy option for India. However, studies suggest in the US suggest that the health costs of coal derived electricity range between 62 billion and 523 billion dollars a year. The health costs of coal as an energy option do not feature in the energy policy decision-making in India. The Roundtable was organized to fill this gap.
The fine dust emission from a coal-fired power plant is not merely a local pollutant but can travel internationally. Dr. Sarath Guttikunda of Urban Emissions made a presentation highlighting the aspect of long distance pollution from coal fired plant.
Members from Indian Public Health Association (IPHA), Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) – Pondicherry, Institute of Women and Child Welfare – Govt of Tamil Nadu, Department of Community Health – CMC Vellore, Catholic Health Association of India, Society for Community Health Awareness Research Action (SOCHARA), St. John’s Research Institute – Bangalore, St. John’s Medical College – Bangalore, Indian Journal for Public Health, Indian Institute of Public Health – Hyderabad, Indian Academy of Pediatrics (Tamil Nadu Chapter), Chennai Corporation and Doctor’s Association for Social Equality (DASE) attended the meeting.
Similar roundtables have been successfully conducted by National Coal & Health Initiatives in both Australia and South Africa over the past year. Coal & Health Initiative India proposes to organize series of similar roundtables across India leading up to the World Federation of Public Health Association’s triennial Congress to be held in Kolkata in February 2015.
For more details contact:
Divya Narayanan – +91 9884521072