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Coal-based power plants severe threat to Karachi environment

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KARACHI: The government endeavour establishing two coal-based power plants of 420 megawatts (MW) at Bin Qasim and another at Steel Town and Gulshan-e-Hadid of 660 MW each in collaboration with a Chinese company will produce severe environment threats for Karachi.Government of Pakistan and Karachi based power utility K-Electricity were trying to provide power relief to Karachiites but on other hand creating severe environmental threats by planting coal-based power plants, Daily Times learnt.Sources informed there is no doubt both power plants would provide cheaper power to citizens. Approximately both coal-based stations will consume more than 10,000 tonnes of coal on daily basis, which will also produce life-threatening gases particularly in Steel Town and Gulshan-e-Hadid where more than three million people live.There are high chances of outbreak of diseases in Karachi after one year of commencing these stations, said health experts.A Karachi Electric (K-Electric)’s spokesperson said, “They do not know about the power plant of 650 MW as it belongs to government, however, plants of 420 MW will be operational after introducing complete system for disposal of wastage and preparations in this regard are underway.” Source said beside production of unfriendly gases, both power stations would produce wastage of 2,500 tonne on daily basis and there was no mechanism for disposal.The dumping of wastage in sea on pretext for reclamation sea land would destroy marine lives.Karachi University Environment Department Chairman Muazzam Khan considered it worst polluted source comparatively to other sources.On burning coal, green house gases produce such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Soop particle and particulate matter also produce of 2.5 mm size, he said. These gases deposit in lungs of human beings would result various life-threatening diseases. These gases are also known as promoter of cancer, Khan mentioned.He was of the view in Karachi air unfriendly particles for human beings have already crossed their limits and installation of such plants would damage environment further more.Moreover the power plant of 650 MW is basically a plant of a Chinese company, which is now shifted to Pakistan. It is old one ultimately its efficiency will not be hundred percent. Similarly power plant of 420 MW is converted one from fuel and its efficiency is also a question mark. However, this is sure both are and will produce more wastage and gases comparatively to new ones.Source said coal for those power plants would be imported from Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia, which would affect tariff as well.Every developed country including China and United States of America has been removing coal-based power plants due to its severe side effects but in Pakistan, power sector companies and government were welcoming it.

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