One of my pet hates in life as always been coal, in any shape or form. Having grown up in Bradford in the north of England I was born into coal and for the first years of my life saw what kind of a mess it can cause and also the hazards to health. I saw a lot of people die due to the effects of coal and many deaths were not at all a pleasant way for your life to end.
Just over a year ago the giant coal ship the Double Prosperity managed to run aground on Bakud Reef off the coast of Kiamba, Sarangani Province but luckily after having unload some thousands of tons of coal onto barges the ship was safely towed off of the reef. This was not a totally successful operation as some coal was lost into the sea during the transfer operation to the barges.
Some of the Fish Canneries in Gen San are now using coal instead of wood to cook up their products, in one area of the bay on a private wharf there is quite a good amount of coal spillage into the bay during the unloading process.
One Cannery has found a way to get rid of the ash and partially burned coal and that is by spreading it on the side of the road opposite there facility so that there is a better hard standing for the staff to park there vehicles on. When it rains, the run off water is black as the coal is dissolving after being churned up by the vehicles.
Everybody in the industry around here talks about Clean Coal bus as of now when the use of Coal as an energy source by the local business people, they are proving that it is anything but clean!
The latest incident has just occurred of the coast of Glan at the mouth of Sarangani Bay where a really Tatty looking Coal Barge that was being towed away by a Tug Boat was photographed cleaning out the hold and then just dumping the waste coal and other garbage directly into Sarangani Bay which is a Protected Sea Scape which means that by law, nothing is supposed to be dumped into the waters.
The two vessels, the Barge and the Tug have been impounded by the Coast Guard For now but I am sure that a solution of some kind will be found in order for the two vessels to go on their merry way and continue dumping their waste into another part of the sea!
The Coal Fired Power Station as so far not matured, in fact there seems to be no news of the construction starting and there is no sign on the ground of anything happening, the company planing to build it must have some kind of problem getting the finance in order to start the project I am led to believe!
The reason that I am bringing these few small problems to light is that even now, the Power Station is not even off the drawing board and the pollution has started. I am sure that when the Power Station actually gets on line, more Philippino’s will use their powers of invention to use coal in numerous ways in order to save money and the pollution and mess will spread all over the area!
Both the Local Government Agencies and the Company Planing to Construct the Power Plant all are very definite in saying that this Plant will use Clean Coal Technology and there will be no pollution! Well, so far the Local Government Agencies are not doing a very good job at preventing Coal Pollution as it is spreading in small steps around the area.
People say that the Owners of the Coal Barge should be charged and heavily fined for the pollution of the Protected Sea Scape. I agree with that but also think that the Customer who purchased the Coal should be held equally responsible!
This problem will only get worse before it gets better!
Chris Dearne, aka "GenSan Chris" is a long term resident of the Philippines. Chris has been living in General Santos City since 1992! Chris owns a hotel in General Santos called Cambridge Farm Hotel, and also the Cambridge Dive Center, formerly Tuna City Scuba Center. Chris' interests include Scuba Diving, Instructing, and Formula 1 Racing.