Medicos Roundtable Discusses Health Impacts of Coal Energy

Chennai, 26 July 2014: Public health experts and medical specialists met today to make visible the health costs of India’s pursuit of coal as the energy option of choice.
The Roundtable held in Chennai on the theme of “Climate Change and Health Impacts of Energy Choices – Coal” was organized by Coal and Health Initiative India a collaboration of Community Environmental Monitoring and Health Care Without Harm at Huma Specialists Hospitals & Research Center Pvt Ltd.

Proposals to generate more than 600,000 MW of electricity – 4 times India’s installed capacity – by burning coal are on the anvil in various states of India. Coal is seen as a cheap energy option for India. However, studies suggest in the US suggest that the health costs of coal derived electricity range between 62 billion and 523 billion dollars a year. The health costs of coal as an energy option do not feature in the energy policy decision-making in India. The Roundtable was organized to fill this gap.

The fine dust emission from a coal-fired power plant is not merely a local pollutant but can travel internationally. Dr. Sarath Guttikunda of Urban Emissions made a presentation highlighting the aspect of long distance pollution from coal fired plant.

Members from Indian Public Health Association (IPHA), Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) – Pondicherry, Institute of Women and Child Welfare – Govt of Tamil Nadu, Department of Community Health – CMC Vellore, Catholic Health Association of India, Society for Community Health Awareness Research Action (SOCHARA), St. John’s Research Institute – Bangalore, St. John’s Medical College – Bangalore, Indian Journal for Public Health, Indian Institute of Public Health – Hyderabad, Indian Academy of Pediatrics (Tamil Nadu Chapter), Chennai Corporation and Doctor’s Association for Social Equality (DASE) attended the meeting.

Similar roundtables have been successfully conducted by National Coal & Health Initiatives in both Australia and South Africa over the past year. Coal & Health Initiative India proposes to organize series of similar roundtables across India leading up to the World Federation of Public Health Association’s triennial Congress to be held in Kolkata in February 2015.

For more details contact:
Divya Narayanan – narayanan.div@gmail.com
http://www.noharm.org

Cheyyur Power Plant will Contaminate Water Resources, Spread Cancer Agents – Research

By Soumo Ghosh
July 15, 2014 19:36 IST

Recent studies by Community Environmental Monitoring (CEM), a program by The Other Media, found that the Cheyyur Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) would exponentially contaminate local water bodies, irrigation systems and adversely affect the agriculture of the region.

Cheyyur is located around 100 kilometres from Chennai and about 50 kilometres from Puducherry, in Tamil Nadu. Hence, experts believe that this could also go on to adversely affect the water supply in the urban areas.

“Thermal power plants are water abusers. Krishnapatnam, in Nellore district, which was as water rich as Cheyyur is now starving for water,” said Shripad Dharmadhikari, a researcher on water and energy at Manthan Adhyayan Kendra. “Unfortunately, with coal-fired plants, Tamil Nadu will have to make a choice between water and electricity.”

Read full story here: http://www.ibtimes.co.in/cheyyur-power-plant-will-contaminate-water-resources-spread-cancer-agents-research-604467

Cheyyur thermal plant may endanger waterbodies: study

VIDYA VENKAT

A new study by Community Environmental Monitoring has shed light on the hydrological implications of the proposed 4000-MW Cheyyur thermal power project.

“Site selection for the power plant has completely ignored its impact on the surface water resources such as tanks and ponds and the interconnected network of streams,” said S. Janakarajan, one of the authors of the study, currently Professorial Associate at the Centre for Water and Development, SOAS, University of London, and president, South Asia Consortium for Inter-disciplinary Water Studies (SaciWATERs), Hyderabad.

The project proponents have failed to study the impacts of key components of the project such as a proposed 4-km road to the East Coast Road, a coal conveyor belt, a coal conveyor corridor, a stormwater drain and a 25-km railway line, on local drainage and flooding, the study finds.

Read full story here: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/cheyyur-thermal-plant-may-endanger-waterbodies-study/article6210618.ece

Cheyyur Project will harm local hydrology, study finds

PRESS RELEASE – 14 July, 2014, CHENNAI
The Cheyyur power project will damage water reserves, harm agriculture and interfere with local drainage routes leading to increased flooding in some areas and reduced rain water flow to vital irrigation tanks, according to a study titled “Hydrological Implications of the 4000 MW coal-fired Ultra Mega Power Project in Cheyyur, Tamil Nadu.” The report finds that the water bodies and water flows in the Cheyyur area render it unsuitable for hosting a large coal-fired power plant.

“Site selection for the power plant has completely ignored the project’s impacts on Cheyyur’s rich surface water resources such as eris (tanks) and ponds and the interconnected network of streams,” said Prof. S. Janakarajan, one of the authors of the study. Janakarajan works extensively on water management, and is currently mapping the water bodies of Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts, Tamil Nadu, as a part of the project funded by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.

“Thermal power plants are water abusers. Krishnapatnam, in Nellore district, which was as water rich as Cheyyur is now starving for water,” said Shripad Dharmadhikari, an IIT-Bombay graduate who is currently researching the water-related impacts of coastal power plants in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. His organisation Manthan Adhyayan Kendra conducts research on water and energy. “Unfortunately, with coal-fired plants, Tamil Nadu will have to make a choice between water and electricity. Particularly in places like Cheyyur, you can’t have both,” he said.

“Not locating the project here keeps open the option of developing this area for its agriculture and hydrological potential. The network of irrigation tanks need to be maintained, not abandoned or diverted for other uses, if Tamil Nadu is interested in some long-term water security for its fast urbanising population,” the report concluded.

The study, which included computer modelling of rain water flows, found that the site for dumping toxic flyash is located upgradient of at least seven irrigation tanks with a command area of more than 5000 acres. Noting that the flyash will be mixed with seawater and transported to the ash dump in a slurry form, the report warns of salinisation of groundwater and surface water flows down-gradient of the ash pond.

Relying on RTI records from the Revenue Department, the report pointed out that the plant and ash pond sites enclose more than 150 acres of water bodies, including backwaters, streams and ponds.

The project proponents have failed to study the impacts of key components of the project – such as a proposed 4 km road to East Coast Road, a coal conveyor corridor, a storm water drain and a 25-km railway line – on local drainage and flooding, the study reports.

The study was conducted by Community Environmental Monitoring, a project of The Other Media, Prof. S. Janakarajan, Siddharth Hande and Nityanand Jayaraman.

For more information, contact: Nityanand Jayaraman – 9444082401

Community Environmental Monitoring
92, Thiruvalluvar Nagar 3rd Cross, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600 090
cheyyur.wordpress.com

Report can be downloaded from: https://cheyyur.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/report-cheyyur-hydrology.pdf

Scientists seek relocation of Cheyyur plant

Thirty-nine scientists have written to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, seeking that the proposed 4,000-MW thermal power project be relocated from Cheyyur in Kancheepuram district, citing serious threats to the environment.

They have also demanded that the Cheyyur lagoon, and its catchments and drainage, be declared areas of conservation importance and given legal protection.

The former vice-chairman of the National Knowledge Commission, M. Bhargava, and scientists from prestigious organisations such as IITs’ and several Central universities are among the signatories.

Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/scientists-seek-relocation-of-cheyyur-plant/article6179154.ece

Tamil Nadu: Neyveli power plant replacement and expansion on the cards

Power shortage continue on one hand and oil prices are rising on the other. Although the Kudankulam nuclear power plant would help increase power supply to southern states, this also gives an opportunity for Tamil Nadu to expand the 4 x 500 MW lignite based plant

The oldest power plant in Neyveli, set up 50 years ago, using locally mined lignite as fuel, and having done great service, will now be phased out. This 600 MW unit is proposed to be replaced by a new plant, which will have 2 units of 500 MW capacity each.

Estimated to cost Rs4,751 crore, this will be setup in the next three to four years. According to Surinder Mohan, Chairman and Managing Director of Neyveli Lignite Corp Ltd, orders have been already placed with Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), at a cost of around Rs3,592 crore for boiler and turbine generators (BTG).

Read more: http://www.moneylife.in/article/tamil-nadu-neyveli-power-plant-replacement-and-expansion-on-the-cards/37963.html

Relocate Cheyyur UMPP: Eminent Scientists Tell Government

Press Release: 30 June, 2014

Thirty-nine scientists, including former vice-chairman of the National Knowledge Commission Padma Bhushan Prof. Pushp M. Bhargava, have urged the Tamil Nadu and Central governments to relocate the 4000 MW Cheyyur UMPP considering the ecologically sensitive nature of the current location. The scientists’ letter notes that both reports make a prima facie case that Cheyyur is inappropriate for locating a coal-fired power plant. It asks the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the Union Minister of Environment & Forests “to take appropriate action to relocate the power project to a site that is in line with the siting guidelines of the Ministry of Environment & Forests, and to declare the Cheyyur lagoon, its catchment and drainage as areas of conservation importance and give it strong legal protection.”

The scientists have based their recommendations on two scientific reports. A Bombay Natural History Society & Madras Naturalists Society report on the use of the Cheyyur lagoon by migratory birds describes the lagoon as an important habitat for 77 species of waterfowl, eight of which are among 42 species listed as endangered in India. A second report by Prof. D. Narasimhan and K. Devanathan of Madras Christian College documents the rich botanical diversity that will be lost if the power plant and its associated infrastructure come up in their current locations. This report documents the presence of rare plant species and healthy patches of fast disappearing forest types such as the Tropical Dry Evergreen Forests in areas earmarked for the power plant project.

Pointing to a climate-uncertain future with acute water scarcity and water-related conflicts predicted for India, the scientists warned that “locating a coal-fired power plant [at its current location] will not only harm the remarkable biodiversity but also compromise Cheyyur’s potential to serve as a supplier of fresh water for drinking and irrigation needs in the future.”

The BNHS/MNS report on migratory birds in Cheyyur lagoon can be downloaded:

http://cheyyur.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/bnhs-and-mns-report-english.pdf

The report by Prof. D. Narasimhan on botanical resources of the Cheyyur region can be downloaded: http://cheyyur.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/botanical-survey-report-1.pdf

For more information, contact: Nityanand Jayaraman – 9444082401

The Other Media. 92, 3rd Cross, Thiruvalluvar Nagar, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600 090