Abandon the Use of Coal and Coal-Fired Power Plant in the Philippines
Abandon the Use of Coal and Coal-Fired Power Plant in the Philippines
Coal is one of the world's most important sources of energy. It is one of the most sought-after energy sources in the Philippines and considered by our government to be the "most viable" and "cheapest source" to produce electricity for its consumers. There's no doubt that this fossil fuel powers everything, from every Filipino households to huge establishments and can produce thousands of mega watts of electricity 24/7, but unfortunately, it comes with a hidden threat.
Coal, in its whole process cycle, from extraction to burning, seriously and greatly damages everything in its radar, our communities, our health, and especially our environment. Considering of how many decades our country used and still uses this "dirty fuel" but it still it can't supply and provide every Filipino households with efficient and attainable electricity. We only get a high price electricity rate yet low quality services and pure pollution than electricity.
The impacts and effects of the coal and the coal-fired industries can be widely and severe and can't be detected easily and quickly. The major impacts of this coal-fired industry in the Philippines are:
- It has massive contribution to Global Warming - Among all the other energy sources, coal releases the most carbon dioxide per unit energy. It accounts for 43% of global emissions from fossil-fuel combustion, with 28% emitted from coal fired power plants which are the current power plants running in the country. From this, it contributes to the increasing amount of greenhouse gases resulting to global warming and climate change.
- Negative Effects on the Environment - The life cycle of a coal, from coal mining to coal washing to coal transportation to coal combustion and water disposal, where each of them imposes negative impacts to our environment that can greatly affects the lives of the people. For an instance, coal mining results to destruction of local habitat and biodiversity while coal washing can result to contamination of streams and other water sources and total loss of marine life then coal transportation can result to release of coal dust that when inhaled, causes different diseases then the coal combustion that releases toxic chemicals as by product that can result to different pollutions, especially air pollution and lastly the water disposal that can affect surrounding ecosystem of coal ash and other toxic wastes from the process.
- Negative Public Health Impacts - From the whole coal life cycle - extraction/ mining, transportation, washing, combustion and disposing post combustion wastes - negatively affects health and one of the most severe is the air pollution that according to World Health Organization (WHO), estimated more than 7 million people die each year while the study of Greenpeace Southeast Asia in 2016 notes that there have been 960 premature deaths due to strokes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases linked to coal-related pollution in the country. The number is expected to rise to 2,410, following the construction of more coal-powered plants. Coal-Fired Power Plants emit Sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and other gaseous pollutants that when inhaled, can be deadly and can cause different diseases in respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological system. It is also linked to other diseases such as vector-borne diseases, red tide and other harmful algal blooms, food and water borne diseases and to other environment factors that affect people such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
- High Cost yet Inefficient - Our country is considered as "the most expensive electricity rates" in the Southeast Asia with Php 7.00 per kilowatt-hour for commercial while Php 9.00 for households according to the Department of Energy but does it lives up to its name? Hours of power interruption mostly in Luzon, brownouts and blackouts.
The total abandon of coal use and coal-fired power plants can be tragic at first but this can result to:
- Reduce our Country's Contribution to Global Warming - the emission of Greenhouse gases in our country can be minimized considering the studies that shows our country will be the First country in Southeast Asia and 5th in the World to experience the wrath effects of Global Warming.
- Reduce Risk of Public Health Hazards - by abandoning this industry, there will be a great drop in numbers of health diseases caused by the coal.
- Increases the Philippine Economy - Today there's estimated 50 coal-fired power plants that run in the country yet the government pays million and billions of pesos to import coal from other neighboring countries. Diverting from coal to renewable or other energies can save our government enormous amount of money
Everyone of us wants to have safe and clean environment yet we are the one is in the frontline for destroying it. We are all finding the answer for the problem we had done. We are finding the suspects for the crime yet we are one. We are the only living organisms that brought threat to our World.
The only solution to this is the renewable energy but we can't abandon overnight or instantly this dirty fuel which can cause instability of Philippine Economy. We must:
- Slowly reducing the numbers of coal-fired power plants in the country. Close down the power plants that are inefficient and only giving off pollutants than what is needed.
- Government must incline to renewable resources. They must invest on research of renewable resources and natural resources in our country. They must take advantage of that nature gave to us. Build windmills to regions that are windy, geothermal plants in regions of with steam, turbine plants and waste to energy plants considering the amount of waste we produce every year. Considering the maintenance paid by the government every year, the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant can give off estimated 700 megawatts of electricity
- In the mega urban areas such as Metro Manila, slowly imposing a law to build every house a rooftop solars and small micro grids that that can provide full electrification to the households.
There's no doubt that this coal energy obsession of the country also poisoned how our government thinks. How absurd that they signed a treaty and laws for safe energy resources yet not committing to it.This obsession of cheap energy can absolutely power the whole nation but who will use it when the people of our nation is dying to the negative effects of this dirty fuel. We must stop investing to something that will kill ourselves, our families, our communities, our environment, our country. When we will open our eyes and make a move to the fact that this practices of producing electricity will drag us to our own tombs? When fresh air is canned and must be bought? When air in this nation if dominated by pollutants and oxygen is now a business? When we will accept the fact that this coal will be the "silent killer of our nation?