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The return of coal: German TV documentary

HEAL’s coal and health officer recently appeared in a German TV documentary on the health impacts related to coal-fired power plants.

Today as much coal energy is produced in Germany as during the time when old lignite-fired power plants were still operating in the former East German state. In addition, coal energy for industrial use has not been as cheap as it is today in a long time.

Coal is booming in spite of clean energy alternatives and the authors of the German channel NDR wanted to discover the reasons for this boom. Whilst attending a citizen’s conference in the East German region Lusatia, HEAL’s coal and health officer Julia Huscher was interviewed about the health impacts of coal-fired power plants. Scientists and residents were also interviewed.

The documentary follows one family from Lünen in in which the parents and children are suffering from chronic respiratory conditions. Those living in close proximity to power plants have to deal with health conditions more and more often, and according to their family doctor, their health problems are due to the pollutants released through the smoke stacks of the coal power plant. The documentary also asks who is responsible.

The documentary can be viewed for a limited time in German via the media library of NDR

Originally posted on 6 March 2014

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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