Taking care of oneself is important. But in times like these, when what’s uniting the world are environmental catastrophes, we need to look out for each other too. This was the basic premise of Greenpeace’s visit to the coal-based power plants in Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh, to interact with and support the people living around these pollution-beasts.

In less than 24 hours of leaving from Bangalore and reaching Ennore, my team and I bore witness to extreme environmental and human health degradation caused by coal-fired thermal power plants in the area. Kuruvimedu is one of the small village-like rural settlements around these plants. Impact of pollution from these plants on Kuruvimedu is severe, the testimonies we collected are shocking - children having to visit the hospital every month, adults being hospitalised for days and months owing to breathing difficulties, and destruction of natural resources like water and soil.

In my short 3-day trip to Ennore - a small town near Chennai where the beautiful Kosasthalaiyar river flows and meets the Bay of Bengal - I found myself facing these questions:

  • When we ask for development, are we really asking for development across India or limited to the cities?
  • Who really bears the true cost? There’s a greater price to pay than just the electricity bills we pay every month.
  • Effectively, investing in coal-based power is not benefiting anyone in the long run. Then why are further investments being made to harness this dying source of energy?

Children as young as a few months old are suffering from chronic cough in Ennore. Ash and sludge is released directly into the river, which not only affects the marine life, but has severely damaged the landscape and the natural resources in the area. I urge you to take a minute out to add your voice of support.

Air pollution is not restricted to Delhi. It isn’t restricted to the rest of the metropolitan cities either. How air pollution from coal-based thermal power plants affects its immediate neighbours is something you and I don’t necessarily think about in our daily lives. To millions of Indians living the city-life, this may sound like a horror story. What we may call a nightmare is somebody else’s reality; someone living far away from us, is paying the true price of what we call development.

So, the next time I charge my phone or switch on my laptop, I’ll bear in mind that the electricity that is generated from coal is not only damaging my own lungs, but is also destroying lives of many others.

Join me and 1 lakh Indians and ask the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to hold these dirty coal power plants accountable and ensure well-being of all Indians.

Furthermore, I’ll let a few photos and testimonies of Ennore residents speak for themselves:

Children of Ennore share with us the story of their life around coal power plants
“We often fall sick and get rashes, even when we are eating the dust falls in our food. It’s in the water we drink. We can never be clean, look at our hands and feet, it’s covered in dust.” Children in Ennore.


Pollution from the coal-fired powered plants has affected the vegetation in this area.Pollution from the coal-fired thermal power plants have left the leaves covered in ash



An urban health nurse shares stats on how many people come with respiratory problems

“Of the 150 patients that the clinic sees everyday, half have lower respiratory infection or upper respiratory infection.  Of those, 60% are children below 5 years of age and rest adults.” Sahaya Mary, Urban Health Nurse, PHC.

A bus conductor at Ennore shares how he has been affected by air pollutin in the area

“When the smoke comes, we feel choked and are unable to breathe” Retired bus conductor in Ennore


Manjari Sharma is a Digital Engagement Campaigner at Greenpeace India