AUSTRALIA -- It has always been one of the major industries in the world whose economic decisions impact the world. These major players including European Countries and the US have put together several policies to help achieve more sustainable energies. And yet, the demand for more energy has only made things more impossible to achieve.
Sadly, it is not just about the carbon emissions from the smokestacks that pollute the air and the environment. This fact was first introduced in 1978 but later its disquiet could no longer be contained. The ashes from coal have been mixed with water and have entered many of the pipes that lead to a giant dam nearby.
"What is left is a poisonous slurry that contains some of the most dangerous metals. They are being dumped in virgin soil and have been entering the water ways" said Sue Wynn a former counselor of Wyong for the Greens. "My only concern is that it is leaching into the water table and it could affect the lakes in the area. the problem could go on and one and might even get worse."
The Hunter Community Environment Centre has conducted their own research and their report reveals that this concern raised by Wynn comes with substantial evidence. Sediments from coal and water has been found at the discharge points from Eraring Power Stations and the Vales Point. The water in the lake where these points have reports that identify the presence of dangerous levels of chemicals like arsenic, copper and aluminum to name a few.
"Maybe the levels of these chemicals are not enough to harm us, the humans. But those in the bottom of the food chain will be able to get these chemicals and will eventually flow to other chemicals in the chain including end uses like humans," said Lake Macquire. "I don't know how long the fish life can tolerate the chemicals in their homes, but the issue is how it could affect marine life in the long run.
A new report released by a non-profit organization called the Environmental Justice Australia agrees with what Lake Macquarie but it also points out that such problems have been a result of an even wider problem like limited availability of information and poor management of coal-fired power plants. The lack of policy guidelines has also been seen as the root cause of such type of problem.
While the results of the study have been dismissed by the energy industry citing that it is just a part of another campaign to shut-down coal-fired power plants. While carbon emissions have been an effective way to reduce the effect of climate change, there remains to be a bigger problem. Concerns about climate change and the many things that people do that contribute to the worsening of the problem have been called for.
"Perhaps what the world needs is strengthened policies on the garbage disposal and such.