Analysis & Opinions - The Diplomat
With Growth of Coal Power Plants, Vietnam's Future Is Grim
On January 12, 2017, the academic journal Environmental Science & Technology published a study by researchers from Harvard University, Greenpeace, and the University of Colorado Boulder titled “Burden of Disease from Rising Coal-Fired Power Plant Emissions in Southeast Asia.” Based on official data on the future installation of coal-fired power plants in Southeast Asia and atmospheric transport modelling, the research group presented a grim picture of regional air pollution due to emissions from these plants.
According to this research, by 2030 Vietnam will be the ASEAN country most affected by coal pollution in term of the premature mortality rate due to coal plant emissions, with 188.8 excess deaths per million people. That’s significantly higher than the second most-affected country in the region, Indonesia (85.4 excess deaths/million people). In total, it is estimated that there will be almost 20,000 excess deaths per year by 2030 in Vietnam due to coal pollution, or a fivefold increase from the calculated number for 2011, which is 4,252 excess deaths. To put this number in context, traffic accidents, which are the leading cause of unnatural deaths in Vietnam, had an average fatality rate of around 106 excess deaths/million people over the past five years.
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