Environmental And Health Hazards Of Burning Coal

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2. Environmental And Health Hazards of Burning Coal

Coal is the primary fuel for electricity production in India and its usage is continuously growing to meet the energy demands of the country. Emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants are growing in India with the increasing demand for electricity. The aspiration for fast economic growth lead to grow rapid industrialization coupled with accelerated urbanization and mechanization of agriculture has been responsible for this increasing need of electricity ever since the independence. The electricity consumption grew from 375.39 (billion kWh) in 2000 to 600.65 (billion kWh) in 2008 at an annual growth rate of 6.67% , while the electric power production grew from 529.12 billion kWh in 2000 to 835.27 billion kWh at an annual growth rate of 5.78% .

Main gases are emitted from coal fired and lignite based thermal power plants are CO2, NOx, SOx, and air-borne inorganic particles such as fly ash, carbonaceous material (soot), suspended particulate matter (SPM), and other trace gas species. Thermal power plants, using about 70% of total coal in India4 (Garg et. al., 2002), are among the Large Point Sources (LPS) having significant contribution (47% each for CO2 and SO2) in the total LPS emissions in India.

Large difference between electric power production and consumption are due to transmission and distribution losses. In India, the losses are extremely high and they are varying between 30 to 45%. Burning coal releases
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