This image was taken at Port Augusta’s coal fired power station which is one of the oldest, dirtiest and least efficient of Australia’s 26 coal fired power plants. In the foreground is an accumulation of coal slag, the left over product of many years of burning coal to create electricity. In the background is a row or coal carriages. I counted 98 of them.
The World Coal Institute declares that coal-fired power plants currently fuel 41% of global electricity. Globally we release an estimated 90 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every day. Most of the CO2 being released is through the burning of fossil fuel, primarily coal and oil. Burning coal also releases toxic mercury that rains down onto our rivers and streams contaminating fish. The pollution then makes its way into our bodies when we eat the fish. Mercury is especially dangerous to pregnant women and young children because it’s a powerful neurotoxin that can damage the brain and nervous system causing developmental problems and learning disabilities.
I was astonished and slightly sickened when I found out these 98 carriages of coal arrive full and then leave empty everyday. That’s 98 carriages of coal burnt every single day at this one coal fired power station, again this is just one of Australia’s 26 coal fired power stations. Think of what this is doing to the health of the nearby communities down wind and to the world as a whole.