Opposition to Coal
Plant Construction In Subic Bay
BY SAVE SUBIC
Posted by Bulatlat
Opposition is growing
to the construction of a 300 megawatt coal power plant on the pristine
beaches of Subic Bay, one of the Philippines’ top tourist destinations
located in Olongapo, Zambales (126 kms. from Manila).
The power plant, being built by Taiwan Cogen, a subsidiary of Taiwan Power
Corp., primarily to serve the needs of Korean shipbuilder Hanjin, will
bring the controversial form of power generation to one of the country’s
most diverse environments.
Subic Bay is home to more than 70 species of fish, including important
varieties of reef fish. The world's rare and endangered Olive Ridley
turtle and Hawksbill dwell still survive in Subic Bay. The area is also
blanketed by a 9,000 hectare virgin triple-canopy rainforest that provides
the area with some of the highest air quality in the region.
Under the current proposal, this spectacular natural setting will be host
to one of the most polluting types of energy production available.
According to the environmental group Greenpeace, coal is a form of energy
that pollutes comprehensively, from the time the coal is extracted, to its
transportation across the sea or land, to the pollutants it pumps into the
“Fly ash samples taken from coal-fired power plants in the Philippines and
Thailand over the course of the last three years have shown the presence
of hazardous substances such as mercury and arsenic,” the group said in a
statement. “Laboratory and technical analyses indicate that a far greater
amount of these toxins is likely being released to the environment and
thus pose huge risks to population centers.”
“Mercury is capable of causing severe brain damage in developing fetuses
such as tremors and mental disorders, and can even cause death,” the group
continued. “It is so toxic that it takes only 1/70th of a teaspoon to
contaminate a 10.11-hectare lake to the point that fish caught in the lake
are considered unfit for human consumption.”
Business groups and resort owners in the area have reacted with outrage to
the proposal to bring such a facility into an area that counts tourism as
The Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce, the Subic Bay Resorts
Association, as well as other groups have said that the plant's operation
would cause irreversible damage to the area.
"It will pollute the air, the land and the water, removing the key
ingredients in Subic Bay's prime assets--clean air, clean water and the
proximity to nature," the groups said in a statement. Posted by
PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION ■
© 2006 Bulatlat
Alipato Media Center
Permission is granted to reprint or redistribute this article, provided
its author/s and Bulatlat are properly credited and notified.