The Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines welcomes this year’s theme for the World Environment Day, “Beat Air Pollution.” This presents the reality of an environment plundered. Today, we would like to express our solidarity to all communities affected by severe environmental pollution impacting their health, livelihood and well-being.
The Philippines is among those who suffered the most in terms of environmental plunder and pollution. The country ranks third in terms of the highest number of deaths due to air pollution but the country remains dependent on coal. The government has been open to new investments on coal-fired power plants (CFPPs). It has been proven that CFPPs are causing illnesses to communities, marine pollution, damage to livelihood, and worsening of climate change.
Our environmental investigative mission (EIM) in 2016 in Calaca Batangas, the site of the Sem-Calaca Power Corporation and Southern Luzon Thermal Energy Corporations, showed that nine of the most common illnesses were associated with the pollutants from coal or coal combustion based on numerous scientific studies. Furthermore, the Chromium level in fish samples exceeded the tolerance level as well as the Mercury level in shellfish samples. These heavy metals have detrimental effects on marine organisms and human health. On the other hand, the EIM in the Pagbilao Power Station Complex in Pagbilao, Quezon showed that the acidity levels in the sampling sites did not pass government standards.
In this regard, we would like to reiterate our call to stop using coal and dirty energy sources, and address the environmental and community impacts of the existing power plants. Also, we would like to remind that aside from making individual lifestyle changes to reduce air pollution, there is a need to pressure government agencies to address the problems related to CFPPs, and hold violating corporations and negligent government agencies accountable.
Our country should also transition from CFPPs to environmentally friendly, pro-people, and affordable sources of energy. To do this, we need to unite to raise awareness and take action.
Beat air pollution! No to coal-fired power plants! Stop environmental plunder!