New Delhi: A group of mothers along with their children from different cities of India on Friday gathered near the office of Union Environment Minister, Bhupendra Yadav to raise the impact of air pollution from Thermal Power Plants (TPPs) on children. However, the minister has not met them so far.
The group raised placards peacefully outside the Paryavaran Bhavan to raise awareness on the health impact of air pollution on children. While explaining the cause of their campaign, mothers shared the health impacts of air pollution from Thermal Power Plants. They said that unchecked emission from the plants affects young children and pregnant women.
The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) in March this year stated that emissions from a power plant travels large distances and harmful emissions from 12 power plants located in and around the Delhi-NCR region result in nearly 218 deaths annually in Delhi.
The same report mentions that compliance with the 2015 emission standard notification would have negated over 4,700 preterm births, about 7,700 asthma emergency room visits, and approximately 3,000 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) cases in 2018.
In August 2021, an online petition was started by them under the name “NoExtensionsToPolluters”, seeking that the Environment Ministry order for all coal-powered TPPs to follow the 2015 emission control norms. They wanted to hand over a copy of this petition to the Union Minister.
Delhi-based Bhavreen Kandhari explained that several reports stated that it was in December 2015 that the MoEF&CC proposed to amend the Environment (Protection) Rules of 1986 by bringing in tighter emission norms for coal-based power plants. Under this notification, the TPP’s would commit to reducing pollutants like Particulate Matter (PM), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen dioxide (NOx) and mercury in the air.
Moms from various cities gathered outside Paryavaran Bhawan to raise awareness on their campaign around the health impact of Thermal Power Plants on children. In August, they had started an online petition asking emission control norms 0f 2015 to be followed by all TPPs. @moefcc pic.twitter.com/Y6pwZlVOcA— CitySpidey (@city_spidey) October 8, 2021
Sherebanu Frosh, a member of the campaign and a mother said, “When we discussed the issue of air pollution, we think about cars, waste burning, etc but we do not realise that the TPPs are one of the biggest single sources of air pollution. Ministry of Environment knows this and in 2015, they had issued emissions standards for thermal power plants. Ministry gave two years to implement those, but they refused them. They got the extension and the regulation was diluted over time.”
She added, “As per World Health Organisation, all children are breathing unsafe air. Through this campaign, we want to show that we are also powerful. Giving this extension and delusion, please think about what matters is the health of the children”
Moms from various cities gathered outside Paryavaran Bhawan to raise awareness on their campaign around the health impact of Thermal Power Plants on children. In August, they had started an online petition asking emission control norms 0f 2015 to be followed by all TPPs @moefcc pic.twitter.com/xDyDOrhgjX— CitySpidey (@city_spidey) October 8, 2021
Another mother from Nagpur, Leena Buddhe said, “I have come all the way from Nagpur to put forward this point. The mothers who are living in or around Nagpur are suffering from the pollution emitted from thermal power plants. There are a lot of health implications mothers and children are facing. The fly ash from the plants are polluting water sources, a lot of asthma patient are facing a lot of problems. The fly ash is causing irritation in the eyes of children.”
She added, “We are requesting the minister to see what is happening around there. How mothers are suffering? I am representing all the mothers in and around Nagpur. Farms are polluted impacting health in a major way.”
Actor, filmmaker Nandita Das, who is a fellow signee of the petition, said that as mothers, we are deeply concerned about the appalling Air Quality Index (AQI) and at times have to restrict our children from playing outdoors.
“The push for TPP’s to reduce air pollution is the need of the hour, given studies conducted by scientists in India who found that areas with poor air quality and higher emissions of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 are more likely to have Covid-19 infections and related deaths,” she said adding that, in an attempt to bring back our economy on track, we cannot ignore the cost of pollution on our health, and more so on children.