LIMAY, Bataan — Residents of Bataan, along with non-government organizations in the province, have called for the immediate closure of the coal-fired thermal power plants at Barangay Lamao here.
The residents complained that the 140-megawatt SMC-Petron Coal Plants continues to operate and spew toxic smoke and dangerous coal waste onto the nearby community.
According to the Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (Kilusan), the waste contained in toxic coal ash like carcinogenic heavy metals chromium, cadmium and mercury have sunk into the environment and has adversely affected the residents.
It added that as a result of almost four years of exposure to coal waste, the people of Lamao, especially children, suffer from skin diseases and respiratory problems.
These problems have been reportedly downplayed and dismissed by coal operators as “insect bites” and “skin rashes.”
The Limay Coal-Fired Power Plant was initially owned and operated by SMC Consolidated Power Corp., a subsidiary of the conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC). Last year Petron Corp., another subsidiary of SMC, acquired the 140-megawatt solid fuel power plant of SMC PowerGen Inc. P20.029 billon.
Residents also complained that even the 600-megawatt SMC plant, which has been doing test runs since September last year, has been spewing coal waste despite having no depository for its waste.
Earlier, coal operators admitted that around 250 tons of waste ash is produced in a day, which can translate to almost 91,250 tons in a year.
Residents together with Coal-Free Bataan Movement (CFBM) and Kilusan have been calling for the closure of the said coal plants.
PHOTO by Philippine Movement for Climate Justice