The Afşin-Elbistan area in eastern Turkey contains the largest concentration of operating coal-fired power plants in the country. These coal-fired power plants are major point sources of air pollution, with remarkably high air pollutant emission rates and impacts on communities and ecosystems both locally and for hundreds of kilometres around.
This CREA modeling case study, prepared for Greenpeace Mediterranean, provides an analysis of the air quality, toxic and health impacts of the proposed expansion of the lignite power plant Afşin A, combining detailed atmospheric modelling with existing epidemiological data and literature.
The emissions from the studied power plant would elevate the levels of toxic particles and gases in the air over the region, increasing the risk of diseases such as stroke, lung cancer, heart and respiratory diseases in adults, as well as respiratory infections in children. SO2, NOx and dust emissions contribute to toxic particle exposure and would result in premature deaths.
The emissions from the power plant are estimated to result in 50 premature deaths per year due to exposure to PM2.5 and NO2 (95% confidence interval: 30–60). Over the operating life of the plant, the cumulative toll on health is estimated at 1,900 premature deaths (95% confidence interval: 1,200–2,500).
The plant would emit an estimated 960 kg/year of mercury, of which approximately 500 kg would be deposited within the study area, increasing toxic mercury levels. The deposition from the new plant alone would exceed the European average level in areas with 500,000 inhabitants (GMA 2018).
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