Stuttgart University was commissioned by Greenpeace to conduct a study to determine the impacts of Europe’s largest coal power plants. Stuttgart’s scientists were able to estimate the economic and health impact of the continent’s 300 largest coal plants.
The experts posited that the largest 300 coal plants cause approximately 22,300 premature deaths a year. Of the 50 projects still in the planning phase, were they to come to fruition, they would be responsible for an additional 2,700 premature deaths.
In addition to causing premature deaths, the economic impact of coal pollution is drastic. Billions of dollars and countless workdays are lost.
In addition to particulate matter being produced by the coal plants, a host of toxins are released into the air, including lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium.
The study did not take into account the cumulative, long-term impacts of coal plants releasing CO2 into the atmosphere.
The worst health impacts came from the following utility companies: PGE (Poland), RWE (Germany and UK), PPC (Greece), Vattenfall (Sweden), and ČEZ (Czech Republic).
In Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic, col plants are responsible for more deaths than traffic accidents. In Germany and the UK, coal-fired power stations and traffic accidents are responsible for nearly the same number of deaths annually.