Press Release on National Children Day

The government must stop children from becoming victims of coal power plant pollution

 Jakarta (24 Juli 2017) Indonesia is celebrating the 23rd of July as Children Day. As more coal power plants have been built in Indonesia, more children become victims of the air pollution. AEER (Aksi Ekologi dan Emansipasi Rakyat) and its network have been documenting coal power plant impacts on children. AEER found several cases where children suffered from upper respiratory tract infections. Among them, were children, that had taken medical treatment over a periode of six months as ordered by a doctor, who is specialist in respiratory diseases.

The coal industry knows very well about the health impacts resulting from the  air pollution caused by coal power plants. One of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of a company mentioned that: “bad air quality will impact community health and the flora that is located around the project. Disturbance on human health will be manifested in the upper respiratory tract.”

 Also it mentioned: “if communities that are exposed to the dust inhale it, the dust will penetrate into the alveoli. The accumulation in the lungs will cause a sickness called pneumoconiosis.

Based on the EIAs of coal power plants, there are companies emitting pollutants to the ambient air causing pollutant concentration above air quality criteria. Coal power plants mainly emit pollutants in the form of fine particulate dust which, according to medical doctors, is very dangerous to blood vessels. Other pollutants are sulphur dioxide, besides causing acid rain it also forms particulate matter, and nitrogen oxide, which is created during high temperature burning (more that 1000oC) forming fine particulates.

Children are the most vulnerable group suffering from the impacts of air pollution caused by coal power plants, along with elder people and people with heart and lung sickness history.

Concerning all of this, the government should stop building new coal power plants. It should further limit the life cycle of existing coal power plants to not more than 20 years. And upon the existing coal power plants, the government should oblige all units to use the best available technology to prevent pollution. All companies have to build air pollution monitoring stations in the surrounding area of community settlements. Companies have to be transparent and accountable towards communities with regular monitoring reports. (end).

 

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Pius Ginting, aeermail@gmail.com

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