Just Transition to a Low-Carbon Future
Access to Information/Transparency
The real extent of the pollution (total pollution load) that has accumulated in the last years in this region is unknown. The periodic monitoring and control of the environmental performance indicators of the coal mine and coal power plants is a duty of the supervising state institutions. Furthermore, even though access to monitoring and control reports is a legal right, citizens’ access to this information is very limited, which prevents seeing the burden on nature and the human cost in its entirety.
Official data on health, as with environmental data, cannot be accessed even through freedom of information requests. Furthermore, the public health monitoring studies for this region, which is highly affected by industrial pollution, are insufficient.
Dozens of freedom of information requests regarding pollutants emitted by the three coal power plants in Muğla, and the related mines and other sources, were filed numerous times to authorized and supervising bodies within the framework of THE REAL COSTS OF COAL research. Most of the requests remained unanswered on the grounds that they were “trade secrets/information” because the power plants and their coal production facilities were privatized. The few replies that were received provided partial data and lacked explanation on the reliability of the data.
Public access to industrial facilities’ periodically recorded, reliable pollution data is a right - particularly the local residents and public health specialists’ access is fundamental. Access to data and transparency regarding coal-fired power plants need to be provided by public authorities, in order to reveal health and environmental costs in an undisputed manner.
Recognition of Coal’s Lifetime Impacts
Measuring the lifetime impacts of coal, from the moment it is extracted, burnt and produces waste, reveals a more realistic extent of the true costs. However, during the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and project review stages, the impacts of coal mines and other polluting sources are ignored. The necessary data for the calculation of these impacts, kept by ministries and other local and national decision making bodies, are not shared with the public. It is necessary to adopt an approach that accepts the resource’s lifetime impacts in order to perform a factual coal power plant impact assessment. This requires first and foremost using a holistic approach by including facilities that provide coal to power plants, as well as waste disposal facilities, to the EIA processes of coal-fired power plants.