Saturday, 25 March, 2023

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800 Australians killed annually by coal pollution

A new report says at least 800 Australians are killed annually by coal pollution.

According to Greenpeace Australia, there are 14,000 asthma symptoms among children and 850 cases of low birth weight in newborns every year. 

Australia’s power sector is dominated by its 22 coal plant stations and the environmental group believes the harmful greenhouse gases are responsible for the fatalities and health issues facing the Island nation.

“Each year, air pollution from coal-burning power station is responsible for around 800 deaths, and 15,000 asthma symptoms in children and young adults, aged 5-19. As pollutants can spread hundreds of kilometres from their source, the death toll is eight times greater than the average annual casualty number from all natural disasters combined and twice as high as the number of smoke inhalation deaths in the recent 2019/2020 bushfire season. Babies born with low birth weight are at increased risk of serious health conditions as adults, including cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and an increased risk of premature death. These effects do not stop at state borders; up to 22 percent of cases occur in states and territories that are not home to the source of the emissions, which can degrade air quality over areas spanning hundreds of kilometres.”

Greenpeace Australia

Greenpeace Australia observed that with Australia operating some of the oldest coal plants globally, the deposition of the potent toxic agent neurotoxin mercury was present in many parts of the country.

They insist that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important
clean air is to human health with a growing body of evidence showing that exposure to air pollution can exacerbate the impacts of the current pandemic.

The environmentalists say phasing out of old coal plants would not only reduce the health impacts of coal pollution, but also lower the risk posed by COVID-19.