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Coal-fired power plants: 'Death Factories?'


Our local politicians before giving the green light to any over-anxious and profit-hungry investor to put up any coal-fired power station anywhere in the territorial jurisdiction of Zamboanga City, should exercise collectively their highest degree of concern and caution to protect the environment and the safety and health of the inhabitants. This is their primordial and most sacred moral and constitutional responsibility as genuine public servants. Foremost, they should listen to the general sentiment of the community directly affected.

Ironically, however, citing only for the most part the benefits of putting up a coal-fired power station, our honorable lawmakers at the drop of the hat passed a “no objection” resolution virtually disregarding strong oppositions coming from various groups. Why the amazing haste?

Our Hon. City Mayor with the same speed, also publicly manifested his executive approval for the establishment of this coal-fired power station at San Ramon just more than 20 kilometers away from the already highly polluted and garbage-strewn downtown area. We don’t want to inject malice or unholy speculation into these high-speed favorable endorsements coming from City Hall and our local legislature, although it cannot be denied that there are already unfavorable rumors circulating like wild fire hereabouts. Whose safety, welfare, and interest are our public officials protecting, the investors or the sovereign people from whom their bread and butter come from?

It is normally expected that the general public who do not possess the scientific training, experience, knowledge, and capability to thoroughly and accurately analyze the experienced and the potential disastrous and harmful effects of a coal-fired power plant, are easily hoodwinked into approving a project that is already jointly endorsed or approved by City Hall and the Sangguniang Panlungsod. As has always been publicly observed, our pro-investor public officials have the common inclination of highlighting principally the benefits of a project and keep the negative consequences under their sleeves. Very seldom non-partisan and environment-protectionist scientists are invited to explain to the public what acid rain is and how it destroys and endanger all kinds of living organisms and the ecology. They seem to deliberately avoid mentioning about deadly or poisonous chemical substances that are emitted by coal-fired power plants which combine with the moisture in the atmosphere to make nitric and sulfur acids which are responsible for puncturing the ozone layer consequently causing climate change. Never mind if this project later on will turn out to be a “death factory.” Acid rain is now the horrible consequence that the inhabitants of Europe and the United States are suffering and desperately grappling with on account of the many coal-fired power stations they had established over the years. Repentance as the old saying goes always comes last! Now they can’t reverse the course of time. Would you like the same horrifying phenomenon to haunt us for the rest of our lives?

My unsolicited advice for those genuinely concerned about public safety, clean air, and life-sustaining environment is:  Rely more on the experts and the factual data which have been systematically and scientifically gathered about the short-term and strategic negative impacts of coal-fired power plants than the thickly sugar-coated justifications of politicians or investors. Be extra cautious and inquisitive about hasty endorsements of the local legislators and executives. They could lead us to our graveyards long before our God-appointed time. Why be afraid of them, when they are just our public servants paid by our taxes? So let’s exercise our fiscal sovereignty as the fundamental life-support system of the government.  

Coal-fired Power Stations might turn out to be deceptively disguised electricity generating “DEATH FACTORIES?” Read the SCIENTIFIC OPINIONS OF world’s leading experts on climate change and global warming. For a good start, read the article of Mara Hvistendahl published in the Scientific Magazine (Winner of the 2011 National Magazine Award for General Excellence) entitled, ‘COAL ASH IS MORE RADIO ACTIVE THAN NUCLEAR WASTE’. Then you will be ready for an informed and rational decision.

By Clem M. Bascar

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