The City where I was born is called Bradford, situated in West Yorkshire in the Industrial Heart of the country in the gloomy Northern Area of England! This area really became developed in the Industrial Revolution when the invention of Steam Power was the latest and greatest technological breakthrough to hit the world! Bradford was at that time the center of the worlds woolen industry so with the new power source, literally thousands of new facilities or mills were constructed in order to speed up the production of the finished woolen cloth and vast fortunes were made by the Wool Barons!
In order to produce the steam, Coal, which is a fossil fuel was readily available in huge quantities and had for a long time been processed to produce gas for household and street lighting purposes, I am sure that most people have seen films of Jack the Ripper carrying out his evil deeds under the Gas Lights of old White Chapel in London! Coal was burned to supply everything from the production of Electricity in later times, Steam to supply the power to drive the textile machines, Steam to power the boilers for heating purposes in Offices, Hospitals, Schools etc, Steam Engines were the prime movers for the Vehicles and Railways of the day, coal was the standard fuel for cooking and heating in the homes, basically, life in them days revolved around coal!
The downside of this wonderful new power source was that coal is a dirty fuel and pumped out every kind of pollutant imaginable but nobody really knew or cared about these things as thousands of jobs were produced and money was plenty, for the mill owners at least. Everything was filthy as the thick black smoke from thousands of factory chimneys was billowing 24 hours a day continuously, the air in Manila would have been considered pure compared with the English air of the time! It was only after some years that the now well known health issues were realized! This kind of pollution went on for over 100 years and only started to decline when new Man Made Fabrics replaced the heavy Woolen Cloth produced in Northern England so with this turn of events, the factories started to close down! In the 1960’s, the government, realizing the problems, went on a clean up drive to make life better for the people, Coal was now being replaced with new forms of power such as Natural Gas from the North Sea, cleaner ways of producing Electricity like Hydro Power, Nuclear Power and Oil were now being developed, household cooking and heating were now either Gas or Electric, many areas were declared Smokeless where Coal and Wood were no longer allowed to be burned as a fuel! Even cleaner forms of fuel were being used in vehicles!
In 2003, the last time that I visited my home town, it was not the same place where I grew up! When I was a kid I remember everything being black, even a new building did not stay clean for long! Mothers could not get the laundry clean because as it was hung out to dry, specks of soot wood land on it! With everything being covered in soot, it was impossible to keep kids clean also! Now, it was a very clean place, all but one of the mills had been demolished and the air was clean and clear, the only major change that I noticed was the amount of immigrants there or maybe I just had not noticed this point as I had not really lived there since 1970!
Basically, what I am saying is that the age of coal is now nearly a thing of the past in many countries and areas around the world as new forms of Power Producing Technology are taking over but unfortunately, in the Sarangani area of Mindanao Coal has arrived and the problems with it are just beginning!
There are plans to build a 200 megawatt Coal Fired Power Station at the mouth of Sarangani Bay right on top of a Marine Protected Area and World Class Dive Site! The plan for this Facility is to expand to 900 megawatt as the requirement for power increases! The company says that there will be no pollution and new Clean Coal technology will be used and only imported Low Sulfur Content Coal will be used to fuel the plant but the same company are backing a proposed Coal Mining Operation near Lake Sebu, one of the local beauty spots and the coal quality there is proven to be young and of low quality! Say what you want, there is no such thing as Clean Coal, the smoke from the discharge chimneys might not be visible but the pollutants certainly are still pumped out into the atmosphere adding to the Greenhouse Gas volumes that scientists say are the major cause of Global Warming!
Now, also in Gen San, the many Fish Canneries are using Coal for their heating requirements because as they say, Coal is cheaper than Bunker Fuel! All these companies have secured the required Environmental Compliance Certificates but who checks on these Coal Burners and what happens to the Toxic Ash which is a unwanted bi product of coal burning! as more and more companies are starting to burn coal, I can see back to my youth living in a heavily polluted city, with financial gain being the motivator for the introduction to the area of this new, Clean Coal Technology as they call it!
There are plans in this area for several new ventures such as a large Open Pit Copper Mine, New Open Pit Coal Mine, Industrial Parks, Cement Works etc and all this will have power supplied from the Coal Fired Power Station, who will benefit the most from all of this, the people of the area or a few faceless facility owners who probably do not know where Sarangani Province is!
With the world going Green and new really clean and renewable technology being available, why must Coal be resurrected? The simple reason is PROFIT plain and simple, the health and wealth of the local population does not matter, the damage to the environment does not matter, the future of our children does not matter, only the bottom line, profit is seen by these companies, nothing else matters to them!
I really hope that the government will see sense in time and not let such abuses to the environment and health of the people happen as there are other forms of energy available to achieve the same end!
Note, President Ronald Regan was wearing a suit which was made of Bradford Wool Cloth when he was shot!, such cloth is good but it is not Bullet Proof!