Thirteen leading pulmonologists and chest physicians from six cities asked the Environment Ministry to implement emission standards of coal plants, one of the biggest contributors to air pollution, without further delay.
The doctors from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore and Bangalore wrote a letter to Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, asking him to implement the emission norms proposed by the ministry as soon as possible.
According to a statement, in December 2015, the Environment Ministry initiated a step towards addressing concerns about air pollution by thermal power plants, when it introduced the amendment to the Environment (Protection) Rules of 1986, bringing in new and tighter norms for emissions from coal-based power plants.
According to the amended rules, all TPPs had to meet these norms by December 2017 and if the plants meet these norms, it will help ameliorate some of the impacts of TPP emissions in the air.
However, the deadline of December 2017 for implementing the norms have been missed and it looks like it may get pushed to 2022 or 2030, the statement said.
"We were really happy and reassured of a better future when the Environment Ministry piloted the plan to raise the emission norms for the power plants across the country in 2015. The timeline imposed by your ministry at that time - January, 2017 for newly commissioned plants and December, 2017 for the existing ones, was extremely reassuring and definitely achievable.
"However, what has shocked us is the response and attitude of other people involved in the process (we do not wish to name anybody), due to which this extremely positive health improving step has for the time being deferred to 2022," they said in the letter.
They said said power plants were one of the biggest contributors to air pollution in the country.
They said in the recent past, they have seen an "unprecedented" increase in the number of chest diseases and specially lung cancer.
"In fact, we are seeing increasing number of these cases in the non-smoker (so called non-smoker) population of our country.
"We are sure that you are aware of the numerous studies available which have linked the particulate matter and the toxic gases especially being released by the power plants to chest ailments and to lung cancer," they stated in the letter.
Noting that the cost or money involved and the timeline was being quoted as one of the reasons for deferring the implementation, they said it was a matter which involved health of millions of people.
"In the interest of the health and the future of the present and future generations of our country, we the undersigned very humbly and very politely appeal to you to kindly put all your might towards this cause and see to it that these emission norms proposed and piloted by your own ministry under your stewardship are implemented as soon as possible and not deferred as is being done at the moment," they added.
The pulmonologists and chest physicians include Dr Arvind Kumar, chairman, Centre for Chest Surgery, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Dr Neeraj Jain, chairman, Depatment of Chest Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Dr V R Pattabhi Raman Consultant and Interventional Pulmonologist, Pulmonologist Associates, Royal Care Hospital Coimbatore, Dr A Jayachandra, Director Pulmonology, Century Hospital, Hyderabad and others.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)