Source apportionment, health effects and potential reduction of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in India

Every year in India, around 26.45% premature deaths (among people above 25 years) are due to air pollution from thermal power plants and industries. While most of the coal-fired plants are violating air pollution standards thanks to the extension on the already-missed deadline given by the central government, the compliance of the standards by the currently operating and under-construction plants can actually avoid 1.24 lakh premature deaths annually. Also, 8.58 lakh premature deaths and 40% pollution levels in India can be reduced if mitigation measures are implemented. This was revealed in the latest study by Louisiana State University (LSU) which pointed out that emission from thermal power plants is the largest single-point source of pollution in India. At 22.62%, the highest premature mortality due to toxic emissions from power units was found to be in Chhattisgarh — a state which is often called the country’s power hub, having the seventh-largest coal-fired power plant in the country (Korba Super Thermal Power Plant).