No to coal. Photo credit: Greenpeace
It was nice to reaffirm that Palaweños, particularly the people of Aborlan, are eco-friendly and eco-conscious individuals. It means they love the environment as much as their lives. The future of their children is proportional to that awareness which is inherited from the past generations. I can say that Palawan still pride itself as the last ecological frontier, not until the DMCI and PALECO joined forces to build a coal power plant there that poses health and environmental risks.
It is thanks to the social media and social networking sites that anyone in the corner of the world keeps updated with relevant information. Facebook, for example, helps me to get the latest information regarding that proposed construction of a coal-fired power plant in which local residents are fighting against. My Alma Mater got my attention as news broke out when students organized rallies and marched to protest the proposed coal plant. Western Philippines University (WPU) together with representatives from civil society, and Aborlan locals participated to show their opposition. Dr. Lita Sopsop, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences of the university is one among those who are in the forefront of this undertaking. I gave her due respect and admiration for her unselfish initiative. Keep up Maam Lita and may God bless you.
Facebook group “ANAK NG ABORLAN” with 900 plus members has various reactions regarding the issue which concerns everyone for most members are from Aborlan. And I support their campaign for Coal-Free Municipality. As a son of Aborlan myself, I was against this move by the influential parties. Aborlan wants electricity which is not only cheap, but clean energy. To build a coal plant in a place Palaweños have worked so hard to conserve for so many years is not morally justifiable, when cheaper, cleaner alternatives are available, especially with the looming threat of climate change.
Aside from that, Palawan, the “last ecological frontier” of the Philippines, was declared a Man and Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1990, classifying the province as a “site of excellence where new and optimal practices to manage nature and human activities are tested and demonstrated.” Visit this link: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/ecological-sciences/biosphere-reserves/asia-and-the-pacific/philippines/palawan/
What more we need to know?
It is alarming to note that a 2002 report found that Tennessee’s Kingston Fossil Plant, the site of the December 22nd coal sludge spilled, has had persistent problems with public health. The report, written by Abt Associates for the Environmental Integrity Project and Rockefeller Family Fund, found that pollution from the plant cut short the lives between 149 and 171 people in 2001.
The report is available at http://www.abtassociates.com/reports/ES-Abt_41_power_plant_report_Nov19.pdf.
According to a WWF-Philippines news release, Palawan, touted as the Philippines’ final ecological frontier, may lose its status as a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve if the proposed construction of a coal-fired power plant pushes through in the province.
Clean Carbon: A False Hope
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) aims to reduce the climate impact of burning fossil fuels by capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from power station smokestacks and disposing of it underground. Its future development has been widely promoted by the coal industry as a justification for the construction of new coal-fired power plants. However, the technology is largely unproven and will not be ready in time to save the climate. Please read the “False Hope” – Greenpeace report on “clean” coal: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/false-hope
For more information about coal, read this report “Dirty Air, Dirty Power” – Clean Air Task Force report on health impacts from coal: http://www.catf.us/publications/view/24.
“Energy [R]evolution” – Greenpeace report on transition to clean energy is also useful information. Read this report http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/energyrevolutionreport.
Myths About Coal
In an effort to justify their means, the proponents of the project promoted unfounded claims that:
- Renewable energies are expensive but in truth solar and wind power are becoming cheaper as technology improves.
- Palawan has no renewable means of energy when in fact there are multiple DOE-approved RE sites/options available on Palawan, from solar, to wind and hydro.
- “Clean Coal”- is not true in the essence of environmental concerns.
- A coal power plant will end the brownouts. No it can’t, even though it has been a long burden to this first class municipality of Palawan.
If DMCI is suffering from losses as coal business sags, it should not be justifiable to focus and look for power generation only to boost profit – especially not here in our beloved place. A business is good only if due respect is given to the Mother Earth and the environment and when it respect the sanctity of life.
The Palawan is an archipelago composed of more than 1,700 islands endowed with rich natural resources and highly diverse flora and fauna found in both land and sea. Palawan also holds two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Marine Park and the Puerto Princesa Underground River that we treasured most. They are our legacy to keep for the generations to come. I want Palawan to maintain its status as the Philippines’ “last ecological frontier”. Let’s keep it that way!
If the coal plant developer failed get local LGU endorsement in Narra where it was originally intended to be put up, why we allow its transfer to Aborlan? Do our local leaders not as keen as those of Narra’s LGU when it comes to environmental protection and life preservations?
STAND WITH US. SAY NO TO COAL!