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Coughing Up Coal

sarah stirk | India

Champa, Dibulganj Village Suffering from Tuberculosis

“For the past 5-6 years, I have had a temperature, pain in my limbs and I have been diagnosed with TB. I am not getting well. Besides my fever, I have difficulty breathing and even talking is hard. Ever since the Plant started, our problems have started too.
We receive no help from the people at the Plant at all, we have not been given so much as a single tablet by them or the government. I have three children and it is a huge worry.”

India's Coal Inferno

India ranks third in the world in the production of carbon dioxide and is burning more coal than ever before, with 66% of power generated by coal fired thermal power plants, and future plans are for massive expansion.

But as India pursues its aggressive path of coal-powered industrialisation, its leaders are showing themselves willing to sacrifice millions of people and huge swathes of the country to a dark and uncertain future.

Outdoor air pollution, arising from power plants, other industry, transport and domestic use, is already among the top 10 causes of death in India. Regulations do exist in India, but are rarely enforced.

Scientists estimate that in 2011-2012, air pollution from coal fired power plants was responsible for 80,000-115,000 premature deaths, bronchitis, respiratory symptoms, heart problems and 20.9 million asthma attacks.

Singrauli was once covered in forest and rich agricultural land, but the regions coal lies underneath these forests, meaning that they are being cleared at an alarming rate. Endangered species are pushed further towards extinction - and tribal communities are swept aside to make way for the energy juggernaut.




Sarah Stirk


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