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Govt urged to use renewable energy instead of coal, other fossil fuels

Karachi

July 8, 2020

The Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum has urged the government to use alternative renewable energy instead of coal and other fossil fuels that are dangerous for the environment and people.

Various researches by environmentalists and climate change experts indicate that coal power generation has a negative impact on lives, leaders of the PFF, a leading fisherpeople rights body that also works on the environment, said on Tuesday.

Since 2013, the trend had been on the rise to construct coal power plants in the various areas of the country. Sindh and Balochistan’s coast (Karachi, Hub, and Gwadar) and the Thar Desert (Tharparkar) have been points of coal power plants. Several power plants have already been completed in these areas while some of them are under construction. PFF leaders said that due to coal energy development, health and environmental issues were taking place, and those issues would become serious in the coming days.

In its ongoing campaign, PFF chairman Muhammad Ali Shah along with other leaders Umer Mallah, Aslam Mallah and Naseer, on Tuesday spoke to a media conference in Islamkot, Mithi, and said that it was a fact that several countries in the world were avoiding coal energy and considering dirty energy. Protest campaigns were intensifying in many countries as a result, they said.

Several countries in the world were reverting from coal-based energy, and but the Pakistan government was giving priority to coal power projects and developing them, Shah said. According to the Climate Risk Index (CRI), Pakistan is at the seventh number of countries suffering from climate change impacts.

Currently, work was continuing on three of the 13 coal blocks in Thar, Shah said, adding that coal power plants’ work was also continuing and coal mining was affecting the ecosystem of Tharparkar.

Moreover, he said, people’s historical right of livelihood was also being affected. “The health of the people of Thar, the natural beauty of the desert region, and underground drinking water has been put at risk in Thar,” he said.

Citing a recent international study, Shah said that coal mining projects in the Thar region would be a major air pollutant in South Asia and expose the local population to serious health risks.

“We have to consider that coal energy is not development but it is indeed destruction. The coal-based power plants would create issues related to the emission of greenhouse gases and an increase in the temperature along with air, water and surface pollution,” he said.

Under the current scenario, instead of environmentally hazardous power projects, alternative renewable energy projects should be initiated and the federal government should focus on environment-friendly projects in light of the Alternative Renewable Energy Policy 2019 draft, the PFF leaders demanded. They also demanded that the government should rehabilitate those people who had been affected by displacement from the area of the Gorano dam, provide them grasslands and abandon the dam.