Power plants that operate on coal are still a big thing within the EU, even though renewable and nuclear energy are quickly gaining space as important sources. Coal use, still not eliminated, is very destructive for the environment, as it makes up 18 per cent of the EU bloc’s greenhouse gas emissions, and 25% of its electricity generation, based on data gathered in 2015.
These data came from a report drafted together by the Health and Environment Alliance, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Sandbag,Greenpeace, and the Climate Action Network Europe. This report was created via a research in 257 coal-fired power plants of the 280 that exist within the EU.
The researchers noted: “Burning coal creates toxic particles of fine dust, which can be carried a long way away from the power plant, beyond the borders of the countries where the plants are situated. People living nowhere near a coal plant can inhale these particles and suffer the health consequences.”
The reporters connected the data gathered to 22.900 premature deaths in Europe, and realized that inhaling these particles can have lethal consequences. 83% of deaths investigated were a direct result of such particle inhaling, which caused heart disease, chronic lung disease, and lung cancer. Coal burning is the greatest producer of carbon dioxide compared to any other form of energy production and now the evidence of its health impact is stunning. This report ought to create some serious reworking of the way EU states work towards eliminating coal use.