Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Coal-fired power plants and pollution
Coal-fired power plants are the single largest stationary source of air pollution in any country. The toxins these coal fired power plants produce severely damage both human health and the environment and contribute to a reduced quality of life. Cleaning up these plants and finding cleaner, alternative energy sources is the overall objective to achieving clean, healthy air in every country.
Air pollution consists of a mixture of chemicals with various harmful effects on the human body, wildlife, plants, and climate. The main ingredients of air pollution are the following:
* Ozone Smog: Formed at ground level when sunlight mixes with nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbon vapors emitted by power plants, vehicles, and industry. It contributes to airway irritation, coughing, wheezing, asthma attacks, and immune suppression.
* Sulfur Dioxide (SO2): Gas emitted through burning coal and oil, that converts into acid gases (sulfuric acid) and sulfur particulate matter (pm). Health effects include: airway irritation, heart rhythm destabilization, and asthma attacks.
* Nitrogen Oxide (NOx): General term for NO/O2 hazes formed from burning coal, oil, natural gas, and gasoline. It is a main ingredient in acid rain and ozone smog.
* Particulate Matter (PM): Soil, soot, SO2, and NOx particles from power plants, cars, and factories that are tiny enough to penetrate indoor spaces and deep into the lungs. They can trigger premature death from heart attacks, lung diseases, and cancer in adults; and stunted lung growth, low birth weight, neurological impairment, and SIDS in children.
* Mercury (Hg): Toxic metal particles settle in water, contaminate fish, and move up the food chain. Mercury ingestion can result in premature birth, low birth weight, structural defects, learning disorders, heart and neurological defects.
It would be our prime objective, not only for the general public, but for govt. concerned to prepare effective means / legislations to control such hazards immediately.