Thursday, August 6, 2009

Environmentalists: Study long-term effects of coal ash

Environmentalists: Study long-term effects of coal ash
(The Freeman) Updated August 06, 2009 12:00 AM

CEBU, Philippines - Environmentalists, in a forum yesterday, gave further explanation on coal ash and other hazardous wastes that contribute to greenhouse gases, emphasizing the “need to delve first into the long-term effects of coal ash to public health, being a worthwhile investment.”

Francis de la Cruz of Greenpeace, who tackled on the topic “Coal: Anything but clean,” explained that despite the reports saying that coal-fired power plants will be securing the energy supply of the province, its long-term effects on the health of the people should not be taken lightly.

He said that there are always other ways to produce energy from all over the country and conserve it without harming the environment and risking the health of the people.

Health implications of these said wastes and coal ash was also discussed by Dr. Romeo Quijano, a toxicologist and a professor of UP, explaining further how high toxicity is found in wastes that could effect to diseases such as in the heart, brain and kidney.

Quijano said that people may experience the effect of the toxins immediately or may show in a few years depending on how the person has closely been contaminated by wastes and the allergic reactions these may cause.

Lito Vasquez of the Freedom from Debt Coalition-Cebu discussed on the investments made that have added to environmental damage. He stressed on the current issue of the loan asked by the Korea Electric Power Corporation-Salcon Power Corporation to the Asian Development Bank which is said to be approved on August 18.

Vasquez said that they will be passing within this week a petition to the bank seeking a stop to the granting of loans. The petition would be signed by various groups.

The changes and the negative effects of coal ash produced by coal-fired power plants in the communities, especially those near the plants were also highlighted to raise public awareness on the effects of toxins to public health.

Vince Cinches of the Fisherfolk Development Center discussed this to the group citing an area in Toledo City, as an example, where “coal ash is found all over.”

The Global Legal Action on Climate Change led by lawyer Gloria Estenzo Ramos, other leading environmental groups, and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines initiated the forum participated in by students who mostly are taking up law at the University of the Philippines, University of San Jose-Recoletos, and the University of San Carlos. — AJ de la Torre/MEEV (THE FREEMAN)


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