Doctors for the Environment Australia has slammed a proposed coal mine in Tasmania's Midlands on health grounds, warning it could contaminate the clean soil, air and water of surrounding areas and lead to more climate change whose harmful impacts the island state is already seeing.
A coal mine would also risk Tasmania’s reputation as a clean green state.
Midland Energy Pty Ltd plans to become Australia’s newest coal miner, exporting to Asia and India from mines in Tasmania. It holds exploration tenements in Woodbury and Jericho and is in the process of raising $10m in the US to fast-track the mines.
Dr Anna Seth, the Secretary for the Tasmanian branch of medical group Doctors for the Environment Australia, says, “So-called ‘clean coal’ is a deliberately misleading ploy created by the fossil fuel industry to try and obscure the reality of this highly polluting fuel.
“The last thing we need for a healthy future for ourselves and our children is another coal mine.
“Each step of the coal to energy generation lifecycle – mining, transportation, washing, combustion, and disposing of waste- impacts on human health.
“A coal mine is also at odds with the actions needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees- climate change is already fuelling extreme weather in Tasmania, in other parts of Australia and overseas.
“Earlier this year, Tasmanians experienced devastating bushfires across large areas of our beautiful State, while many parts of mainland Australia are seeing an early bushfire season and on-going drought.
“Exporting coal to other countries does nothing to avoid the damage that this coal will create on our climate and, ultimately, our health.
“The burning of coal also emits hazardous air pollutants in the air we breathe- including particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, mercury and arsenic. These pollutants are linked to heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke and lung cancer.
“Coal is an unhealthy fuel of the past, and we need to look to healthier more sustainable alternatives.
“By investing in renewable energy sources and rapidly transitioning from fossil fuels, we can save lives and improve health immediately while also making sound economic investments in Australia’s future. "
To arrange an interview with DEA Tasmania Secretary Dr Anna Seth, please contact DEA's Media and Communications Coordinator Carmela Ferraro on 0410 703 074
DEA is an independent organisation of medical doctors protecting health through care of the environment http://dea.org.au
We are supported by a Scientific Advisory Committee of distinguished health experts: Prof Stephen Boyden AM, Prof Emeritus Chris Burrell AO, Prof Colin Butler, Prof Peter Doherty AC, Prof Michael Kidd AM, Prof David de Kretser AC, Prof Stephen Leeder AO, Prof Ian Lowe AO, Prof Robyn McDermott, Prof Lidia Morawska, Prof Peter Newman AO, Prof Emeritus Sir Gustav Nossal AC, Prof Hugh Possingham, Prof Lawrie Powell AC, Prof Fiona Stanley AC, Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM, Dr Norman Swan