THE Gates of Hell is how Dan brown described Manila in a recent novel and how right he is. The air pollution has grown excessively with thousands more vehicles belching black smoke and a thick sooty smog swirls over the city. Millions of Filipinos inhale the death causing particles that clog up their lungs and they cough and puke their sickly way to the hospital or are carried swiftly to the cemetery. Thousands of children are gasping for fresh air as they struggle with asthma. The situation is truly a hell on earth.
The anti-pollution law and clean air act of 1999 is clear and has the strongest provisions that are to protect the citizens and give the right to clean air and have a pollution free environment. The law of 1999 expresses the will of the people in granting these rights:
a) The right to breathe clean air; b) The right to utilize and enjoy all natural resources according to the principle of sustainable development; c) The right to participate in the formulation, planning, implementation and monitoring of environmental policies and programs and in the decision-making process; d) The right to participate in the decision-making process concerning development policies, plans and programs projects or activities that may have adverse impact on the environment and public health;
e) The right to be informed of the nature and extent of the potential hazard on any activity, or project and to be served timely notice of any significant rise in the level of pollution and the accidental or deliberate release into the atmosphere of harmful or hazardous substances; f) The right of access to public records, which a citizen may need to exercise his or her rights effectively under this Act; g) The right to bring action in court or quasi-judicial bodies to enjoin all activities in violation of environmental laws and regulations, to compel the rehabilitation and cleanup of affected area, and to seek the imposition of penal sanctions against, violators of environmental laws.
Not only is this law generally ignored but industry backed by the judiciary actually seem to be or to create the perception that they work together in a manner that does not benefit the people but instead further enriches the elite and provides electric power for their factories and business.
The poor get poorer and choke on the pollution from the hell fires of the coal-fired stations.
That is how many citizens in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and Olongapo City see it when the restraining order issued by the lower court was overturned by the Supreme Court.
This recent decision was very much in favor of the energy tycoons making and spending billions of pesos to build coal-fired power plants across the country. We hope and pray the Supreme Court will hear all the arguments and change its decision.
These plants belch billowing fumes tons of deadly particles of chemicals that will create a choking smoke filled environment in the now pristine Subic rain forest. The fumes and smoke will blow across the bay and more of it will be absorbed by the waters of Subic Bay .It will be come one acidic pond killing off fish and their food source. The fumes have mercury content, which will make swimming and water sport hazardous.
So after a year of belching smoke stacks the fresh air of Subic Bay and the rain forest will be a smog of killer fumes and particles.
Coal-fired plants are the most deadly producers of CO2, the green house gases that block the escape of the earth’s heat and is causing global warming and climate change at an ever increasing rate. The planet is being driven toward the point of no return. If the earth will heat up another 2 degrees there is no reversing the trend. The scientists have recorded 2014 as the hottest year ever recorded.
As this trend continues crops will fail, more devastating droughts and forest fires will devastate nations. Gigantic storms are the other extreme causing more extensive floods and disasters everywhere.
With warmer climate the ocean currents will change direction and there will be more monster storms and typhoons like Yolanda (Haiyan) that wiped out Tacloban and dozens of Philippine towns on November 6, 2013
The poor will be the most affected as they live along the coasts and sea levels are rising as the polar ice melts. They can barely survive and a slights climate variation can mean crop failure and death. It’s all because of our greed and materialistic demands for economic growth and the power and wealth that it brings to the few. A few hundred billionaires together have more money than entire nations.
They profit most by the life threatening hellish coal burning power stations. The tycoons ignore the renewable sources of power generation like wind farms, solar power and geo-terminal power plants.
Pope Francis said human kind has given nature a slap in the face. Soon his encyclical on climate will challenge the conscience of the world leaders to act decisively to reduce global warming by curbing the burning of coal and other fossil fuels. The law says we can protest and demand justice and so we should be powerfully determined and never backing down.
Climate justice is what the people want and the courts should recognize that and rule in favor of the people not the tycoons.