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A recent Greenpeace report found that Up to 120,000 premature deaths every year result from India’s failure to properly control emissions from a growing number of coal plants throughout the country. Meanwhile, a World Bank report reveals that the rising number of pollution-related health cases costs up to $4.6 bn. Unless significant changes occur, the problem could worsen as officials race to meet burgeoning demand by building a slew of new coal plants throughout the country.

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Greenpeace studied 111 coal plants in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and other regions, and found that virtually no regulation exists to manage emissions from these facilities. “Hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved, and millions of asthma attacks, heart attacks, hospitalisations, lost workdays and associated costs to society could be avoided, with the use of cleaner fuels, [and] stricter emission standards and the installation and use of the technologies required to achieve substantial reductions in these pollutants,” said the report.

Greenpeace also found that in places where some standards have been theoretically imposed, there is virtually no enforcement of the regulations. Currently India produces roughly 210 GW of electricity each year, most of which is comprised of coal generation, and plans to produce a further 160GW to cover the thousands of Indians who lack access to power, according to The Guardian. Such a move would make the country the highest coal user, pushing past China. Failure to instill standards now could easily put Delhi, Kolkata and other regions en par with Beijing, where record levels of pollution have been recorded.

Via The Guardian