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Manila’s black hole is a health hazard

MANILA (UCAN): On the eve of the culmination of the climate summit in Paris, members of the Urban Poor and some Church groups in Manila joined hands in protest against the operation of a coal dust storage facility in the middle of the Philippine capital.

“It is terrible that these poor people are exposed to such dangerous health hazards,” Notre Dame Sister Anne Brittain, said.

The facility, which stands in the middle of Tondo, the most impoverished district of city, was ordered to be closed by the government earlier this year in the face of opposition from nearby residents.

“It is really unfortunate that they are operating again,” Sister Brittain, a British missionary who has been in the in the country for 15 years, said.

The government allowed the facility to reopen in September, despite the ongoing opposition from residents, who complained that the coal dust is affecting their health.

“It is rather timely that as people in power talk about climate change and environmental degradation, we highlight the human condition,” Sister Elizabeth Burgo, from the Association of Major Religious Superiors in The Philippines, said.

“These dehumanising situations must be addressed,” she continued, adding. “We cannot tolerate the double talk of these people in power.”

The protest in Manila came on the eve of the culmination of the Paris climate summit on December 12, which was aiming to come up with a global agreement to curb global warming.

Sister Burgo said that as the Paris meeting ends, “One thing that world leaders should not miss out on is the human dimension of industrial operations.”

She said, “The supposed development that purports to uplift poor people’s situation is in fact the very factor that kills and induces the suffering of people.”

Emmie de Jesus, from Gabriela, said the presence of the facility has worsened the situation of the poor people of the area.

“People who make a living selling food complained that nobody is buying because of the dust,” she said.

Residents complain that when it rains, black residue settles on the roofs of their houses.

The black coal dust hole in Manila has been used to store stockpiles of coal dust imported by La Farge, a transnational corporation, for the past two years.


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