COMMUNICATIONS from the Bishop

No. 841          Diocese of Marbel, Philippines                    29 September 2015

  1. EFFECTS OF COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS: HUMANS, ENVIRONMENT

    AND CULTURE

“Sr. Susan Bolanio, OND, Hesed Director, and Fr. Rey Carvyn Ondap, CP, Executive Director of the Passionist Center – Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, Inc. (PC-JPIC) filed on 25 August 2015, through registered mail and online, a petition to the Supreme Court asking the highest court of the land to intervene in a case that the two initiated over a year ago, but encountered difficulties in the Justice on wheels of Sarangani, to stop the construction of the 200 MW coal-fired power plant in the Kamanga (Maasim), Sarangani of the Alcantara owned Sarangani Energy Corporation” (Press Release, 27 August 2015 by Cecil Diono).

Bishop Dinualdo requested Rev. Deacon Jezreel Calopez to make a research on Coal-Fired Power Plant and its effects on human beings and the environment.  His report:

 Effects on Humans

The hazardous air emissions from coal-fired power plant cause serious human health impacts.

  • Arsenic, benzene, cadmium, chromium, TCDD dioxin, formaldehyde, and nickel compounds are listed as carcinogens. Thus it can cause a wide range of health effects such as heart and lung disease, and asthma.  And also, exposure to these pollutants can damage the brain, eyes, skin, and breathing passages of the body.  And also affects the kidney, lungs and nervous and respiratory systems.

Effects on the Environment and Culture

  • Air-pollution:
    • Coal plants are the nation’s top source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the primary cause of global warming and a typical coal plant generates 3.5 millions tons of CO2 per year.
    • Burning coal is also a leading cause of smog, acid rain, and toxic air pollution.
    • Sulphur dioxide (SO2): SO2 causes acid rain, which damages crops, forests, and soils, and acidifies lakes and streams. A typical uncontrolled coal plant emits 14,100 tons of SO2 per year.  A typical coal plant with emissions controls, including flue gas desulfurization, emits 7,000 tons of SO2 per year.
    • Nitrogen oxides (NOX): NOX pollution causes ground level ozone, or smog, which can burn lung tissue, exacerbate asthma, and make people more susceptible to chronic respiratory diseases.
    • Particulate matter: Particulate matter (Also referred to as soot or fly ash) can cause chronic bronchitis, aggravated asthma, and premature death as well as haze obstructing visibility.
  • Water pollution:
    • Power plants use water for cooling and up to a billion gallons each day. As this water is discharged back to the river, thermal (heat) pollution occurs.  The hot water can add to eutrophication (oxygen-deficiency) in the river, choking fish and aquatic life.  Heavy metals and chlorine in cooling water discharges are also having a negative effects on river life.
  • Fish kills:
    • There are millions of tiny fish eggs, larvae, and very young fish essentially adrift in the water, and hence extremely vulnerable to power plant cooling water intakes. These small animals are often killed by the passage through a plant’s cooling system.  In certain species, reports document up top 60% mortality in a given year’s new-born fish stock due to power plants.  Adult fish are also trapped and pinned to intake screens by the force of the suction.
  • Impacts on scenic, historic and cultural resources
    • Power plants are massive industrial complexes, with buildings, stacks, and other structures on a scale that often dwarfs everything nearby. Because of this, power plants can be seen from far away, and they can irreparably harm view sheds that are highly valued by society.  Nearby homes and sites of historic significance are devalued because of the plant’s inappropriate size, use, and architecture.

Back to: COMMUNICATIONS from the Bishop (No. 841 September 29, 2015)

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About bishopdinualdo

Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez is the Bishop of the Diocese of Marbel
This entry was posted in Coal, Coal-Fired Power Plant, Earth Spirituality., Environment, Environment Principles, Environment/Ecology. Bookmark the permalink.

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