Coal-fired Plants 'Killed 9,900 in Northern Region in 2011'
Some 9,900 people in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region died in 2011 due to pollution from coal-fired power plants, a Greenpeace report released on June 17 says.
The environmental advocacy group also said 70,000 people suffered health problems that year that required them to go to the hospital.
The research was conducted by Greenpeace and a team led by Dr. H. Andrew Gray, an American pollution expert. It is the first scholarly calculation to be released domestically that details how pollution from coal-fueled power plants has caused premature deaths and severe health problems.
The report said that in 2011, in the region covering Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province, 196 coal-fired power plants caused pollution by emitting particles of 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller, known as PM2.5. Of those plants, Hebei Province's 152 plants led to 75 percent of the premature deaths, the report said.
The report said 2,000 of the premature deaths were in Beijing, 1,200 in Tianjin and 6,700 in Hebei. The plants were also blamed for 9,330 children developing asthma and 12,100 people developing chronic bronchitis.
The research team studied emission data from plants, and analyzed local meteorology, geography and population data.
The report found that pollution in Hebei had the most negative influence on public health in the three places.
Hebei has concentrated steel and cement production facilities, and is a large coal consumer. In 2011, it used 307 million tons of coal, and about one-third of that was for coal-fired power plants.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection is reportedly reviewing an air pollution plan that is expected to be released soon. Greenpeace urged the government to set a clear schedule and target for reducing pollution from coal-fired plants in the region.
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