Are we learning from the garbage problem?

By: Nestor Ramirez March 21,2017 - 08:45 PM


Last week, environmental advocates conducted a 60-kilometer climate walk dubbed as “Break Free 2017” and visited existing and proposed coal plants in the province which started near the coal plant in Toledo City.

They stopped by at the Kepco Power Corp. plant in Naga City, and ended at the Ludo project site in Barangay Sawang Calero in Cebu City.

The advocates also visited my weekly radio program over station dyRC of the Manila Broadcasting Corp. (MBC) in their effort to spread information about their sentiments against the continued use of fossil fuel to generate electricity.

The leaders of the climate change advocacy under the umbrella of Pusyon Kinaiyahan were in unison in expressing delight over Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s stand not to allow construction of the coal-powered plant in the city.

But their appreciation of the mayor’s stand is not without a serious concern knowing the wobbly nature of politics where pledges can instantly be modified or totally transformed based on existing political sentiments and jockeying of interest within or between political parties.

Bro. Jaazeal Jakosalem, OAR, who is one of the movers of Pusyon Kinaiyahan, said they have to be always on guard because proponents of the coal-fired power plant in Sawang Calero have the logistics to make everyone agree to their proposition.

He explained that their movement is advocating the gradual shift from the use of fossil fuel to produce electricity to renewable source of energy to counter the negative effects of climate change.

Jakosalem clarified that they are not pushing for the immediate shutdown of coal-fired power plants since they also acknowledge the importance of electricity to development.

What they wanted, he said, is if there are new plants to be built, they should consider options that are not damaging to the environment like solar or wind source of energy.

Ben Muni of Greenpeace Philippines, who’s also a collaborator of Pusyon Kinaiyahan, said there are alternative sources of energy that are not as destructive as coal-fired power plants.

But the greed for profit due to easy recovery of investment is the reason why there are companies who are still pursuing the construction of dirty sources of electricity.

With the determination of anti-climate change movers to reduce pollution in power generation, supporters of coal-fired power plants in the Cebu City Council must now rethink their stand after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Paris climate deal calling for the reduction of carbon emissions that have been linked to natural disaster.

Although Duterte’s concurrence to the Paris climate deal is a welcome development, but it is not a walk in the park as it is expected to undergo rough treatment. Ratification by the Senate is necessary in order to make the agreement binding.

In 2015, members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change including the Philippines crafted the Paris Agreement, which aims to  limit the increase in the global average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

I found a sense in what the climate change advocates are doing, and precisely if the public would just listen, everyone will realize the immediacy of ending the abuse of the environment because its consequences would surely affect us in the form of natural disasters and calamities.

With the proposal to build a coal-fired power plant inside the Ludo complex, I could not stop but ask: don’t we have enough problems on trash that we have to allow another pollution-generating mechanism to be built within the densely populated community in the heart of the city?

Considering the reality that most of the city councilors are seemingly in favor of the proposed Sawang Calero coal-fired power plant and they are members of the opposition party in the City Council, I hope that this political situation would make the mayor hold on to his pronouncement as he has the track record of blocking every move initiated by the other party.

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TAGS: Bro. Jaazeal Jakosalem, Cebu City, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, Kepco Power Corp., Naga City, Pusyon Kinaiyahan, Sawang Calero

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