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Air pollution: thousands of deaths in Europe from coal-fired power plants
Air pollution poses an enormous health risk for many people worldwide. In this country too, the situation is often dramatic. Among other things, coal power plants are to blame. According to a new study, pollutants from German power plants cause thousands of deaths.
Air pollution is a health hazard
It has long been known that air pollution is associated with a high health risk. A recent study published in The Lancet Neurology showed that air pollution significantly increases the risk of stroke. The risk of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and other diseases, such as the lungs, is also increased. It is no longer just Asian metropolises where there is a significant health risk for the population. Even in our latitudes, the situation is often dramatic. In the past year, researchers from Austria calculated Europe's cities with the greatest fine dust pollution in the future. Stuttgart is one of them. According to a new study, German coal-fired power plants are a major cause of deadly air pollution in Europe.
German power plants also dangerous for neighboring countries
What comes from the chimneys of German power plants is obviously also dangerous for neighboring countries. According to the study entitled "Europe’s Dark Cloud", the pollutants are responsible for the deaths of several thousand people in other European countries. According to the authors, there were a total of more than 2,500 premature deaths nationwide in 2013. In Italy, around 1,600 people died in the same year from the effects of the polluted air, and there were over 1,300 deaths in France. There were around 23,000 in Europe. Germany also gets most of the dirty air from neighboring countries in addition to self-produced air pollution.
Myth of the cheap energy source
The study was presented by a Europe-wide network of non-governmental organizations in which the Alliance Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), the WWF environmental foundation, the Climate Action Network (CAN) and the British think tank Sandbag are involved. In the survey, data from 257 of the 280 European coal-fired power plants in Europe were evaluated. HEAL director Anne Stauffer said the survey shows how much trust in coal energy harms the health of Europeans. "It also debunked the myth that coal is a cheap source of energy," she said in a message. According to the European health systems, deaths, heart and lung diseases have resulted in costs of up to € 62.3 billion as a result of air pollution.
Power plants would have to be shut down
According to the information, Poland was ahead of Germany in cross-border emissions of fine dust and other pollutants from coal-fired power plants. In 2013, the air pollution caused there even killed more than 4,500 people. Only a few months ago, an expert opinion came to the conclusion that all German coal-fired power plants would have to be taken off the grid if stricter mercury limits would apply here. The mercury emissions of German power plants are around seven tons per year. (ad)