Sri Lankan bishop attacks coal power plant
Posted on August 2nd, 2021

UCA News reporter, Colombo

Bishop Mendis says toxic gas emitted from the plant is causing serious health problems for residents

A Catholic bishop has criticized the largest power station in Sri Lanka for emitting carbon and causing environmental damage.

Bishop Valence Mendis of Chilaw said Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant in Norochcholai is causing health risks to residents.

“The toxic gas emitted from the plant has increased the risk of cancer and lung disease of people in the area,” said Bishop Mendis during his sermon on Aug.

“Responsible people around the world say they have decided to phase out carbon emissions by 2050 because it is so poisonous to human life.”

The Catholic Church and environmentalists have urged the government to shut down the power plant and to generate electricity using alternative sources.

The plant was completed in 2014 by a Chinese company with the financial assistance of the Exim Bank of China.

It has been decided to stop the use of carbon in Sri Lanka in another nine years by 2030

Today, in addition to waste disposal, serious problems have arisen regarding the storage and condition of coal, the basic raw material required for the operation of the plant.

“It has been decided to stop the use of carbon in Sri Lanka in another nine years by 2030,” said Bishop Mendis.

“Global warming is also increasing due to the release of carbon into the universe.”

Farmers and fishermen in the area say they are facing serious health problems caused by the plant.

Bishop Mendis was speaking at St. Anne’s Church in Talawila, close to the power plant, in a service to mark the feast of St. Anne

Sadamali Niroshika, a Sunday school teacher from Chilaw, said that due to improper storage and disposal of coal, the air in villages near the plant contains coal dust and ash.

“People in the area face several serious health problems. A group of children living around the power plant have contracted skin diseases. Many other children living in the surrounding villages have skin problems and many adults suffer from health problems,” said Niroshika.

“The air and water are polluted when coal dust and waste ash are mixed into the environment.”

When the wind blows, the ash scatters like dust

An officer from the Electricity Board claimed that coal dust is everywhere in the surrounding area.

“When the wind blows, the ash scatters like dust. We now cover the entire area with sheets about 45 feet high,” said the officer who asked to remain anonymous.

“The ash is used in the manufacture of bricks and cement.”

Environmentalist Aruna Malcolm said harmful chemicals can cause cancer and lung, skin, kidney and heart diseases.

“Such conditions have already been reported around Norochcholai,” said Malcolm.

“Today, these plants are considered to be one of the major pollutants in the world. It is an outdated technology and has been phased out in many countries.”

2 Responses to “Sri Lankan bishop attacks coal power plant”

  1. Ratanapala Says:

    Piss- marking territory!

    First and foremost, even up to this date all over the world power is still produced by the use of coal which is the most abundantly available solid fuel in the world. Industrialized world went through over 200 years of the Industrial Revolution mostly based on coal power. Even to this day most of the industrial countries use coal when the economics dictate its use as an energy source – eg Australia still burn Brown Coal because it is available in the country despite environmental concerns. It is the same elsewhere too. Over the years, these countries developed processes to mitigate the environmental concerns, mainly on the emmissions of acid forming gases such as SO2 and NO NO2 gases and on fly ash. Most of the Coal Plants in the early days and up to now are still in vastly populated areas. Only difference now is that they have the means of controlling the off-gasses. The Carbon foot-print is another matter that needs to be addressed separately as time, space and economics permit.

    The unpleasant truth is that the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka is piss marking the Western and North Western Provinces as a Christian land and are making noises to showcase her authority in the areas. These have little to do with environmental issues, although they are used as a ’cause celebre’ to advance their authority in the region.

    If the Catholic Church wants a better case to highlight their concern for humanity, they should take up the issue of child molestation, cruelty and in many cases killing of babies under their ‘care’! These things have happened in Canada the US, Australia and New Zealand. We still don’t know how much of this early practices were in Sri Lanka and other third world countries. If they want so much to be morally upright, then it is time to come out clean and say publicly – ‘ mea culpa’!

    Through and through all the Christian denominations, spearheaded by the Catholic Church were for devolution of power including the establishment of Eelam. This was on the basis that they could lay the claim for a Christu Rajya in the West and North West of the island when Sri Lanka is balkanized to various power centers – Tamil. Muslim, Christian and the rest for all including last the Sinhala Buddhists! Today they are making a stand together with the Sinhalese Buddhists in only a stop gap measure to face the threat they are facing from the Muslims. This is no different from the fight the Portuguese had with the Muslims in that era. The Catholic Church now represents the modern day version of the repugnant Portuguese!

    There is little that mainly the Catholic Church doesn’t get involved in the above mentioned areas. At one time it was Norochcholai Power Plant – the result was the delay in establising requisite power plants in the island to meet the demand by decades. Even today if not for the Lak Wijaya Power Plant, half the country will be without power and then any power at a reasonalble price. The emissions problem is up to the scientists and the government to handly and mitigate.

    Then it was the Colombo Port City. They came up with bogus protests saying that the livelihood of Fishermen in the Western seaboard especially North of Colombo – the Catholic Belt will be disrupted due to adverse sea currents. Today, the Port City or whatever it is going to be called is a fact on the ground.

    Singapore is a major commercial power who constantly reclaim land around her tiny territory with no environmental hoo ha by anybody in the area. Sri Lanka must carry on regardless! The caravan must go regardless of the wayside barking dogs!

  2. Nimal Says:

    Australia produces it’s coal and they will use it to perhaps save the coal industry that may give jobs but in SL we have a choice to either import coal or invest in solar power. We could invest in solar, hydro and wind power.I invested on nearly 100 solar panels to power my building in the island, I had nothing but obstacles from the electricity authorities.I wished I never had invested so much on panels,inverters,battries etc. Similar project was started in London without any interference or objections from authorities.

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