Image by The Sydney Morning Herald
It is hot, steamy, and sweaty. It is balmy in a bad way. It is stuffy if your windows are too small, or opens to an area with little to zero wind. It is torture that offers no other recourse than to look for a mall with generator. It is a blackout.
Have you ever experienced blackouts that last good parts of a day? Think in terms of 9 hours straight. Or 5 to 6 hours in the morning and another 3 to 5 hours in the evening. That was the hellish period of power outages that tortured the Ilonggo resident in the years 2009 to 2011.
For some reason, the local power monopoly couldn't provide the fuel to power the city's needs. Because of that, businesses were hampered and daily life was hell for a good number of Ilonggos. To solve these problems, Panay Energy Development Corporation built a 164-Megawatt coal fired power plant. Despite protests from concerned sectors in the city, the power plant's construction soldiered on. And even though its October and November 2010 runs were met with different complaints and power failure still persisted up until March 2011, it was finally inaugurated by President Benigno Aquino Jr. in April 2011. Since then, Iloilo City residents have yet to complain of annoying and distracting power outages.
This story seems to point to the fact that coal-fired power plants are a solution to the unstable and inconsistent power services in the country. However, we have a few things to present about coal-based energy:
1. A 100 MW coal power plant will consume up to 300,000 tons of coal a year.
This amount of coal consumption will have by-products of:
- 640,000 tons of carbon dioxide
- 2000 tons of sulfur dioxide
- 2000 tons of nitrogen oxide
- 140 tons of carbon monoxide
- 100 tons of small airborne particles
- 45 tons of volatile organic compounds and hydrocarbons
- 35 pounds of mercury
- 45 pounds of arsenic
- 22 pounds of lead, cadmium and other heavy metals.
2. Seeing as a coal-fired power plant produces all that poison, it is not a surprise that these illnesses are present in communities close to coal-fired power plants:
- Lung dysfunctions
- Respiratory obstruction and infection
- Severe asthma attacks
- Other parts of the body can also be affected by coal-derivative pollutants: central nervous system (brain, spinal cord), the circulatory system including the heart and the blood, the liver and the kidneys.
That's a whole lot of poison and a whole lot of body parts that can get affected, over time, by coal derivative pollution. One wonders what cost the Iloilo people paid in order to have stable electricity. Judging from these facts, it seems Iloilo paid through the nose; its people just doesn't feel the price they paid just yet.