Air pollution from burning coal is expensive and takes a massive toll on people’s health, Greenpeace India’s Avinash Chanchal said on Wednesday, welcoming the Commission for Air Quality Management’s decision to ban coal in Delhi-NCR from 2023.
“Every year, air pollution from fossil fuels takes millions of lives, increases our risk of stroke, lung cancer and asthma, and costs us a huge amount of money. We are witnessing its impact on our daily lives. We also need to take into account the real cost of fossil fuels, not just for our rapidly heating planet, but also for our health,” Chanchal told PTI.
He said that the decision of the panel is a late step in the right direction.
“Various research already suggested that a major portion of the PM emission comes from burning fossil fuels, including coal. It is not only contributing to the air pollution crisis but also accelerating climate change. I hope that the authorities go beyond the outdated fossil fuels,” he said, adding that the panel “must prioritise the phase-out of fossil fuels in other sectors as well including transportation.”
Welcoming the decision, Sunil Dahiya of the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air said that the panel should also pay attention to the non-compliance of powerplants to regulate pollution.
“They should ensure there is compliance without further delay and in case of non-compliance they should charge high penalty along with suspension of these powerplants,” Dahiya said.
He further stated that the move will reduce pollution to a certain extent but more comprehensive steps need to be taken for those industries and powerplants which are consuming coal in large quantities.
The Commission for Air Quality Management on Tuesday issued a ban on coal in the entire Delhi-National Capital Region from January 1, 2023. However, it has exempted the use of low-sulphur coal in thermal power plants in the region.