Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why Say No to Coal Fueled Power Plant

A friend e-mailed and asked me about my opinion on coal fueled power plant in Palawan. I replied with a brief "No no to coal plants. How are you?" Honestly, I am not fully aware of the issue until I came across an Inquirer news written by Redempto Anda (Palawan coal plant meets protests anew).

So Narra rejected the project and now they are eyeing Sitio Marikit in San Juan. Dear People of Aborlan, I am begging you earnestly and desperately NOT TO ALLOW this coal fired power plant to be erected anywhere in Aborlan. Please let your voices be heard.

I assume some of you wants to make an informed decision before joining any protests. I compiled the following information and hopefully, it can add to your knowledge on the matter as it did to mine:


A fossil fuel, coal forms when dead plant matter is converted into peat, which in turn is converted into lignite, then sub-bituminous coal, after that bituminous coal, and lastly anthracite. This involves biological and geological processes that take place over a long period. Coal is the largest source of energy for the generation of electricity worldwide, as well as one of the largest worldwide anthropogenic sources of carbon dioxide releases.


These are just some of the environmental impacts of a coal fueled power plant:

1. The combustion of coal contributes the most to acid rain and air pollution, and has been connected with global warming. 

Emission levels of various pollutants are still on average several times greater than natural gas power plants. In modern designs, pollution from coal-fired power plants comes from the emission of gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide into the air.

Fossil fueled power stations are major emitters of CO2, a greenhouse gas (GHG) which according to a consensus opinion of scientific organisations is a contributor to global warming as it has been observed over the last 100 years.

The World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, said a two degrees Celsius rise in average temperatures would leave millions of people trapped in poverty.

2. Of the fossil fuels, coal is much more carbon intensive than oil or natural gas, resulting in greater volumes of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of electricity generated.

Brown coal emits about 3 times as much CO2 as natural gas, and black coal emits about twice as much CO2 per unit of electric energy.

3. The emission of particulates have a serious impact on public health. 

Studies have shown that exposure to particulate matter is related to an increase of respiratory and cardiac mortality. Particulate matter can irritate small airways in the lungs, which can lead to increased problems with asthma, chronic bronchitis, airway obstruction, and gas exchange.

4. Coal can lead to radioactive contamination. 

As the rest of the Earth's crust, coal also contains low levels of uranium, thorium, and other naturally occurring radioactive isotopes whose release into the environment leads to radioactive contamination. While these substances are present as very small trace impurities, enough coal is burned that significant amounts of these substances are released.

5. Coal ash can contaminate ground water with toxic elements.

A study released in August 2010 that examined state pollution data in the United States by the organizations Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice found that coal ash produced by coal-fired power plants dumped at sites across 21 U.S. states has contaminated ground water with toxic elements. Ground water sites across the United States are contaminated by power plant-produced coal ash. The contaminants include the poisons arsenic and lead.

Arsenic has been shown to cause skin cancer, bladder cancer and lung cancer, and lead damages the nervous system. Coal ash contaminants are also linked to respiratory diseases and other health and developmental problems, and have disrupted local aquatic life. Coal ash also releases a variety of toxic contaminants into nearby air, posing a health threat to those who breath in fugitive coal dust.

6. Coal fueled power plants causes mercury contamination. 

U.S. government scientists tested fish in 291 streams around the country for mercury contamination. They found mercury in every fish tested, according to the study by the U.S. Department of the Interior. They found mercury even in fish of isolated rural waterways. Twenty five percent of the fish tested had mercury levels above the safety levels determined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for people who eat the fish regularly. The largest source of mercury contamination in the United States is coal-fueled power plant emissions.

It's unacceptable that US is blocking coal fired power plants.

"The Obama administration plans to block the construction of new coal-fired power plants unless they are built with novel and expensive technology to capture greenhouse-gas emissions... The only way coal plants could comply is to capture carbon-dioxide emissions and stick them underground—a costly process that hasn't been demonstrated at commercial scale before." 

Even World Bank will no longer fund coal fired power stations.
"In a big policy shift, the World Bank says it'll no longer fund coal fired power stations in poor countries." 


Are we left with a choice between life-damaging brownouts and coal fueled power plant? Say no to coal plant and live in darkness? Not necessarily.

Palawan has the money. Instead of getting tied with DMCI's coal fired power plant projects, why not tap renewable sources? Yes, renewables are more expensive to build but how is it different from the principle taught us by our parents? Buy an expensive shoes or bag because it will last longer than a cheap one. They can tap hydro power, wave, tidal, solar, and wind. Just look at the potential of renewable resources:

"Renewable energy sources, that derive their energy from the sun, either directly or indirectly, such as Hydro and wind, are expected to be capable of supplying humanity energy for almost another 1 billion years, at which point the predicted increase in heat from the sun is expected to make the surface of the Earth too hot for liquid water to exist."

I understand DMCI is conducting information campaigns around. Please don't get swayed by the advantages. The disadvantages far outweigh the benefits. Our leaders in Aborlan should consider the future generations and not just our needs at present. So please convince them not to allow the coal fired power plants.

What's the point of living comfortably today if our posterity cannot see and benefit from the kind of environment we lived in?

I think it better to do right, even if we suffer in so doing, than to incur the reproach of our consciences and posterity. 

- Robert E. Lee

Don't forget to sign the petition by clicking on the link at the right panel above or by clicking on this link HERE.

Be safe everyone!


  1. luto na yan! pormalidad na lang ang info campaign kuno ng DMCI. pera pera lang ang labanan sa palawan! kawawa naman kayo!

  2. I'm not from Palawan but as a Philippine citizen I am concerned because destruction in one part of the country will eventually affect all of us. Let us learn from the mistakes made by other provinces when they allowed coal-fired power plants. What was once a pristine environment is now a misery.

  3. nag-aalangan pa ata si Mayor Ortega kung papayagan o hindi?

  4. Salamat dito. Napakainit ng isyung ito ngayon sa Palawan. Nagsisimula na si gob maningil sa mga nagastos nya noong kampanya.


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