Tens of thousands of Australians live and work close to coal-fired power plants. The cocktail of gaseous and particulate pollutants arising from coal power generation is injurious to human health. All are associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in the days after exposure and subsequently with the development of chronic cardiopulmonary diseases.
We recommend you read both article and the comments for there is a detailed conversation on the attributes of solar thermal technology compared to coal combustion for electricity generation.
By David Shearman and Linda Selvey published in the Conversation March 9 2012