The Environmental Cost of Coal
Assessing coal’s impacts to the environment in Muğla requires a holistic approach to the impacts of coal mines and coal-fired power plants.
Coal mines in Yatağan and Muğla spread over wide areas and cause extensive land degradation, ecosystem damage, water pollution and air pollution. As for air pollution from Yatağan, Yeniköy and Kemerköy coal-fired power plants located in the same region harms plants, forests, wetlands, bees and other animals. Furthermore, when waste water and ash from coal-fired power plants are not disposed safely and pollute the environment, they cause widespread and high levels of environmental damage.
According to the results of the air pollution dispersion model analysis for The Real Costs of Coal:
Mercury emissions of the Yatağan, Yeniköy and Kemerköy coal-fired power plants exceed 1 ton per year. 20% of these emissions is deposited in the waters of the Mediterranean and accumulates in fish tissue, entering the food chain.
Each year, 50 kg of acid (SO2 equivalent) is deposited on forest and agricultural areas in the 90 km2 surrounding the coal-fired power plants. Local residents have been expressing that acid pollution damages the forests in the region, and burns the flowers of olive trees, leading a decline in olive yield. These observations are confirmed by academic studies.
According to The Real Costs of Coal’s contributing report “The Impacts of the Three Coal Power Plants and Open-pit Lignite Mining Operations to Forest Ecosystems in the Province of Muğla” by Association for the Research of Rural Environment and Forestry Issues: