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70,000 deaths per year feared with more coal-fired power plants

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by Camcer Ordoñez Imam

Ozamiz City – Environment advocates said continued construction of coal-fired projects may result in some 70,000 deaths per year by 2030, prompting residents of this city to form a human chain to protest the impending construction of a 300-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant here.

The residents, who claimed the coal-fired power plant will also deprive the people of Mindanao from enjoying clean and cheap energy from renewable energy sources, held their protest action

at the Naomis Botanical Compound here last Friday. It is part of a global campaign against the continued operations of coal-fired power plants in the various parts of the country.

“Back then when more than 50 percent of electricity generated in Mindanao was from Agus Pulangi hydropower plant, Mindanaoans enjoyed the cheapest electricity rate. However, electricity costs started to get higher as the share of coal increased to 40.2 percent against the 22.2 percent of hydro in the Mindanao mix in 2015,” said Lourdes M. Anabieza, point person of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ)-Western Mindanao Region.

“This is a clear indication that coal is not cheap, and we are being deceived by the government’s continued support for coal companies,” Anabieza added.

Lawyer Aaron Pedrosa, Energy Working Group head of PMCJ, citing a Harvard University-led research study, said air pollution from coal-fired power plants in Southeast Asia were estimated to cause 20,000 deaths per year.

“This number could rise to 70,000 deaths per year by 2030 if coal-fired power plants that are in the pipeline will be constructed,” Pedrosa added.

Individuals from various organizations and sectors in Misamis Occidental participated in the Global Divestment Mobilization here. It aims to project our calls and demands to our government and private investors for the divestment of funds from fossil fuel and coal to renewable energy, Abienza explained.

“We would also like to register our sentiments and question to the Commission on Appointment (CA) for rejecting the appointment of DENR Secretary Gina Lopez, and emphasize our opposition and rejection of the appointment of Roy Cimatu as DENR secretary, she said.

The nationwide activity hopes to highlight the role of profit in the continued pursuit of dirty, deadly, and costly energy from fossil fuels, especially from coal.

“It is unthinkable that the Philippines, which is among the most threatened by the disastrous effects of climate change, is considered a safe haven for coal, one of the leading causes of global warming,” said Pedrosa.

“As of March, 2017, the Philippines has a total of 7,504 MW installed power generation capacity from its 26 existing coal-fired power plants, with 35 more plants in the pipeline.

Pedrosa said that the government failed to notice that some 250,000-MW could be produced in the country by tapping clean and renewable energy.

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  • Juan Barili

    A modern coal power plant will kill far less than the belching vehicle exhaust present in all of our major cities now and for decades in the past and future. Put in the benign coal power plants and clean up the roads.

    • ARIKUTIK

      Coal powered plant to use our very Own coal. It is good to be self reliant in terms of power. As for clean roads > All private cars including taxi MUST be battery powered vehicle. Public transport system should be whatever is cheap for riding public. The private car owners are moneyed enough to be forced to use expensive E-car.

      • jeffhre

        It’s difficult to be self reliant – when you are dead.

  • Paul Parenas

    70,000 deaths per year? How do these clowns know? Climate change is a scam perpetuated by bureaucrats and politicians. It is a way for these parasites to tax (make more money) from the taxpaying class.

    Smoke belching PUVs are more of a threat than these coal powered electric plants. If the government is serious in cleaning the air, it should ban old, smoke belching vehicles from operating. Take them off the streets…….

    • Diegodin2

      Climate Change are perpetuated by US , EUROPEAN and Industrialized countries,likes CHINA – enviromentally polluted caused by factories , cars , and plants. Third-World countries are their Scapegoats for the their environmental misdeeds.

  • underthePhilippineSun

    in a third world country where COAL still holds an essential source of electricity flowing to the national grid, i think the PH do not have any substantial option…..

    Climate Change is INEVITABLE….

  • Diegodin2

    In order for the country to be energy self-sufficient and low power rate , time now to have a NUCLEAR POWER PLANT. One in Luzon and one in Mindanao to supply the country’s need so that foriegn investors will come in and invest , right now in Asia , Philippines has the highest energy per kilowatt rate compared to our neigbours. All developed and industrialize countries have nuclear power plant why not Philippines too? We are scared to have it, right!? We , Filipinos ay MATATAPANG (daw! ANG APOG!) AT HANDANG MAMATAY!?!!?? Right!!?? Let build CORRUPTION-FREE NUCLEAR POWER PLANT! COAL-FED AND FOSSIL-FUEL FED POWER PLANT pinapayaman lang natin ang mga NEGOSYANTE at KURAP NA POLITIKO niyan at POLUSYON PA ANG MAKUKUHA NATIN.