A coal-fired burden

Poor, minorities affected most by coal-plant pollution

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has called for the nation’s coal-fired power plants to be shut down.

A study led by the NAACP ranked the United States’ 378 coal-fired plants according to each plant’s effect on the health, economics and environment of local communities, concluding the plants are placing a disproportionate health burden on poor (and mostly minority) communities across the country, according to the Daily Climate.

Of the 6 million individuals living within three miles of one of the plants, the average per-capita income was $18,400 and 39 percent were people of color. Further, of the 4 million people living near the 75 heaviest polluters, 53 percent were minorities.

Coal-plant emissions contain large amounts of mercury, lead, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide—linked to climate change, asthma attacks, heart problems and chronic diseases.