A delegation from the Marine and Fisheries Department of Hainan province requested a visit to members of the Southern Coalfield branch of the Rivers SOS Alliance, to discuss the management of river systems and drinking water catchments. They arrived by bus at Douglas Park on Wednesday 6 November for afternoon tea and talk, led by Director Mr Pan Jiangang, and Deputy Director Ms Chen Qianyi.
We presented them with a slide show of rivers and desiccated swamps damaged by longwall mining under the Metropolitan and Woronora Special Areas of Greater Sydney’s catchment.
We asked them to request the Chinese government to cease buying coal mined from our Special Areas.
They were shocked to learn that mining is allowed here, and informed us that mining is prevented in China’s drinking water catchments.
“Don’t you have the vote?” one asked. We replied that even so, most people don’t know or care where their water comes from, and meanwhile the mining corporations are overpowering our governments, and have played a large part in removing two prime ministers. But there is growing awareness of the issue and more activists are now joining the campaign to save the water supply.
They told us that our request to boycott catchment coal might be a possibility, as China can access coking coal from newly opened mines in Mongolia.
We resolved to maintain contact.