#CoalNiSumu (Coal is Poison) demonstrate against the planned development of coal projects in Lamu and Kitui counties. PHOTO/PAWA254
By ABDULHAKIM SHERMAN
As part of activities to mark the World Environment Day, anti-coal activists across Kenya held a peaceful demonstration in the streets of Nairobi before presenting a petition to Parliament on why Kenya should not invest in coal projects.
The #CoalNiSumu (Coal is Poison) demonstrators are against the planned development of coal projects in Lamu and Kitui counties at a time when many countries around the world are decommissioning coal plants due to effects of climate change.
Coal like oil or natural gas is a fossil fuel which it produces carbon dioxide and other Greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. Greenhouse gas emissions result in climate change which is blamed for causing droughts, floods, diseases, food shortages and water scarcity among other environmental and health complications.
It was the first anti-coal demonstration in Nairobi, but just the latest action by the deCOALonize movement. This Nairobi event follows a peaceful anti-coal demonstration in Lamu two weeks ago, in which two activists were arrested for public assembly and face possible charges.
The protestors carried anti-coal signs in support of Kitui and Lamu residents opposed to coal projects. From Freedom Corner, they stopped at the Supreme Court and County’s City Hall.
Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo receives a petition from #CoalNiSumu (Coal is Poison) demonstrators. PHOTO/PAWA254
The group then arrived at Parliament, where they formally delivered their petition of demands to, Mr Otiende Omollo, a representative of the Parliamentary Committee on Environment.
The group ended its demonstration at the Office of the President, where an Assistant Secretary formally received the petition as well.
A copy of the full petition is attached. Demands included the following:
- The immediate cessation of all activities leading to the construction of a coal plant in Lamu;
- The immediate cessation of all activities leading to coal mining in Kitui;
- A review of NEMA licensing process so as to include effective public participation that can curb impunity and corruption in environmental management in Kenya;
- Questioning of all public officials including the CS who were involved in approving coal mining and the construction of a coal plant in Lamu;
- A review of the energy policy in Kenya with a view to permanently ban coal in Kenya.
#CoalNiSumu (Coal is Poison) demonstrators in the streets of Nairobi. PHOTO/PAWA254
Participating deCOALonize partners and members included Team Courage, Pawa254, Haki Africa, KeNRA,CHRCE, Save Lamu, Greenpeace Africa, 350 Kenya, Biodiversity Network, and Katiba Institute, Inter-Religious Council of Kenya, Sauti ya Wanjiku Movement, amongst many other individual Kenyans and civil society organisations.
Police provided security during the demonstration as the organisers had notified them in advance as required by law.
The deCOALonize Campaign was developed in January 2016 by a group of environmental and social justice advocates concerned about the increasing interest in Kenya on coal power production and exploration. The campaign was developed to advocate and provide information to local communities, policy makers, academics, and civil society, on alternatives to coal and embracing clean energy in Kenya.
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