Increasing focus on health impacts of coal

There is increasing public attention being focused on the health impacts of coal mining. Rivers SOS has been arguing these cases for some time, but it is worth noting that so have many health organisations.

For example, Doctors for the Environment has been raising awareness about dust from coal mining, as well as particulate emissions from burning coal at power stations. As medical professionals, theirs is a significant contribution to the debate.

There has also been recent media attention regarding coal dust from train movements (SMH, 13/08). This has been covered extensively in the Hunter, and the Newcastle Herald is running a petition to have the coal wagons covered up.

There is also a great public meeting happening next week, organised by the Coal Terminal Action Group in Newcastle. This should draw further attention to the issue, in light of the proposed expansion of the Newcastle coal port. Details follow:

21 August 2012 – 6:00pm – 7:30pm

Come to a public meeting to discuss the proposed 4th coal terminal (T4).

When: 6pm, Tuesday August 21st
Where: Mayfield East Public School (Crebert St School Hall)

Is coal making you sick? Many Novocastrians believe our city’s massive coal terminals and the endless coal trains that feed them are making us sick. With coal corporations now seeking approval for a fourth coal terminal that would potentially double Newcastle coal exports, the community is demanding answers.

We invite you to a forum with local community groups to hear about “T4”, the proposed fourth coal terminal.

  • Why are Newcastle residents so concerned about the proposed coal terminal?
  • What air pollution are residents exposed to close to coal trains and coal terminals?
  • Why cover coal trains?
  • What are the health risks of living with coal and doubling coal exports through Newcastle?

We’ll also hear from visiting health experts Professor Peter Orris and Fiona Armstrong to learn about the health effects of living with coal and options to protect our community.

Guest speakers:
Professor Professor Orris is the Director of Occupation and Environmental Medicine at the University of Illinois in Chicago. He has served as advisor to WHO, PAHO, as well as Federal, State and Local Governments, environmental organisations, labor unions and corporations. He has written numerous articles, book chapters and governmental reports in the field of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and maintains an active clinical and teaching practice.

Fiona Armstrong is convenor of the Climate and Health Alliance, a coalition of health professionals that work together to raise awareness about the risks to health from ecological degradation and climate change and the benefits to health from climate action and environmental protection. Fiona has a background in health, journalism, public policy and advocacy.

To learn more about T4 and the Coal Terminal Action Group ‘like’ our Facebook page.

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