The Social and Cultural Cost of Coal
In the last 35 years, eight villages were forced to displace –some more than once- when coal mines became operational.
The disentitlement of their traditional ways of economic production and employment opportunities force local commuties either to work in the coal sector or to get displaced -leaving their homeland behind. Due to demographic changes as a result, communities bear heavy societal and cultural burdens, paid with their livelihoods.
In the last 35 years, eight villages were forced to relocate –some more than once- when coal mines became operational. If the planned capacity increase, life extension of power plants, as well as coal mine expansions in the licensed areas, are realized, 48 other villages will be forced to entirely relocate or to leave their homes due to expropriation of olive groves and agricultural and forest areas. This will lead to the direct or indirect displacement of 8.300 people in Milas, and 20,400 people in Yatağan and Menteşe, totaling to approximately 30,000 people forced to leave their homes.
Farmers from around Yatağan coal-fired power plant have filed suits on the grounds that the pollution from the power plant led to considerable decreases in yield therefore causing financial loss. In many lawsuits particularly those regarding citrus, olive and tobacco production, plaintiffs were awarded compensations. Court decisions determined that the gas emitted by the coal-fired power plant harmed agriculture, damaged plants that had not completed the leaf development stage and decreased yield. Current studies demonstrate the level and magnitude of the impacts of the dust particles emitted by the three coal-fired power plants and open-pit coal mines on beekeeping and olive cultivation, whereas the province of Muğla is Turkey’s leading honeydew honey, citrus and olive producer. Eliminating coal’s impacts on these main products will enhance their value added to the regional and national economy.
According to the Archaeology Foundation’s analysis for The Real Costs of Coal on the mine licensing areas and pollution dispersion maps:
Archaeological heritage is also threatened by Muğla’s coal-fired power plants and coal mine expansions. The Yatağan, Yeniköy and Kemerköy triangle is part of the area referred to as Caria in Antiquity. Carians were followed by Seldjoukides, Byzantines and Ottomans before the area became part of the Turkish Republic.