Air pollution from coal-powered plants causes thousands of early European deaths a year, says a new study from the World Wildlife Fund, Health and Environment Alliance and Climate Action Network.
The report, by a collection of environment bodies, analysed emissions data from 257 of the EU’s 280 plants in 2013. It alleges that 22,900 premature deaths – mostly from cardiovascular disease and lung cancer – were associated with pollutants including fine dust particles.
The report, which claims ‘coal pollution respects no borders’, says coal plants in the Netherlands were associated with 270 premature deaths abroad, and 20 in the country.
But it estimates that in 2013, 620 people in the Netherlands died from the effects of air pollution from European coal plants.
It claimed coal plants in Germany and Poland ‘caused’ the most deaths abroad, and also saw the worst effects in the health of their own citizens. ‘Closing all of the EU’s coal-fired power plants could prolong 22,900 lives annually,’ the report argues.
Many coal-fired stations have closed in recent years in the Netherlands, but three are still open. Climate activists say they jeopardise the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.
Energy company Nuon told the public broadcaster NOS that it wants to close its plant in Amsterdam but needs a viable alternative. ‘At present, it is often not profitable to produce electricity with natural gas,’ it said.
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