Cleaning Up the Air in India

1/18/19
ELAW Bulletin

Tackling coal-fired power plants and other polluters in India is a serious challenge. According to recent rankings, nine of the 10 most polluted cities in the world are in India.
 
ELAW partners in India are working hard to hold polluters accountable and advance clean air solutions. We are pleased to share recent good news.
 
Last year, an enormous coal-fired power station in North Chennai, Tamil Nadu, was closed down permanently. The Ennore Power Station was built more than 40 years ago. TANGEDCO, the state-owned utility, proposed two new 660MW coal-fired power plants as replacements.
 
ELAW Staff Scientist Dr. Mark Chernaik evaluated the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for one of the replacement plants and interpreted pollutant levels in air and water samples from Ennore, revealing serious public health and environmental hazards.
 
Pooja Kumar and K Sarvanan at the Coastal Resource Center write:
 
"On 22 December, the Ministry of Environment and Forests rejected the project proponent's request for an extension of the deadline for clearance, asked them to redo all Environmental Impact Assessments, which also includes conducting a base line of health in the region and a cumulative impact assessment in the 10 km radius of these plants. These projects would also require a fresh public hearing.
 
This decision is a big boost for communities fighting to protect their air, water and health on the ground!"
 
Pooja, Sarvanan, and many others worked hard for this victory.
 
"We had for the first time extensively used a health argument in challenging the environmental impact assessments of the plant," says Shweta Narayan at the Healthy Energy Initiative. "Public health professionals and doctors in the Healthy Energy Initiative India network deposed before committees, conducted small health studies, and advocated for no new plants."
 
Ennore is a global toxic hotspot and has been intensely polluted by coal plants, fly-ash ponds, and coal yards.
 
Congratulations ELAW partners!
 
P.S.  Another shout out, to ELAW partner Nity Jayaraman, who in December was awarded the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law. We are in awe!
 
For more information about ELAW's work in India and around the world , please contact:
 
Maggie Keenan
Communications Director &
Fellows Program Coordinator


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