Southeast Asia air pollution deaths could triple

Southeast Asia air pollution deaths could triple

Coal emissions in Southeast Asia are projected to triple by 2030, resulting in an increase in pollution-related deaths, CNN reports.

Researchers at Harvard and Greenpeace say the demand for electricity in Southeast Asia is projected to increase by a staggering 83% between 2011 and 2035 - twice the global average."Air pollution in China and India has received a lot of scientific attention," said Harvard University's Shannon Koplitz, a lead researcher in the project, in a statement.

However, she says the "impacts of planned coal power expansion in the rest of the Southeast and East Asian region have been understudied."

The peer-reviewed study cites economic development, population growth and urban migration as reasons for the huge leap in energy demand, and says that in Southeast Asia - unlike in the US, Europe, China or India -- these demands are still likely to be met by coal-fired power plants rather than renewable energy. It states the public health consequences could be "severe."