May 14, 2016 - 4:00 PM EDT
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Indonesian activists climb cranes to halt coal plant operations

Jakarta, May 15 (EFE).- Indonesian environmental activists on Sunday morning scaled two massive cranes at the Cirebon Coal Power Plant on the north coast of Java island to tack up yellow banners demanding an end to the use of the combustible fossil fuel, as part of a wave of rallies worldwide sparked by campaign NGO Greenpeace.

"Coal has a dirty history in Indonesia ranging from land grabs, violence against local communities, polluting our air and exporting climate change to the rest of the world," said Arif Fiyanto, the Climate and Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Indonesia in a statement issued on Sunday.

The call comes amid plans by Indonesian President Joko Widodo to expand investment in coal-fired power stations despite that the existing 48 plants nationwide have been linked to an estimated 7,100 premature deaths per year due to cardiovascular and respiratory illness, notes a joint study by Harvard University and Greenpeace conducted last year.

Just four days ago, at least 3,500 people also gathered in front of the presidential palace in Jakarta to rally against Widodo's plan to build more than one hundred new coal-fired plants.

Coal is one of the cheapest existing fossil fuels to meet rising electricity demands in the 260.2-million strong country, which is also the world's second largest exporter of the 'vital energy source', according to the Indonesia Investors portal.

But coal mining contributes to carbon emissions and global warming while polluting rivers and releasing toxic heavy metals into the atmosphere, according to the Washington-headquartered National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS).

The 'Break Free' campaign by Greenpeace, launched at the beginning of May, mobilizes communities in at least 13 countries - including the Philippines, South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia - to demand governments shift to renewable energy.

"Join a wave of global resistance to keep coal, oil and gas in the ground," reads the campaign slogan by Greenpeace International.

"President Jokowi has a choice: stay with a business-as-usual approach to generating electricity and see the lives of thousands of Indonesians cut short, or lead the rapid transition to safe, clean, renewable energy," Arif added. EFE


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Source: News (May 14, 2016 - 4:00 PM EDT)

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