On 14th of October, NTV (Kenyan media station) aired a 26-minute documentary on Lamu coal plant project and its supposed benefits for the country. This brazen bid at showing support for #CoalingLamu has been met with contempt by any Kenyans. What was meant to be an impartial line of reporting by the media station was marred by a clear bias for clean coal technology as long-term solutions that would help Kenya achieve economic growth and industrialization.
Referring to Karabiga coal plant in Western Turkey, NTV presented clean coal as a modern technology with very low emissions and hence not harmful to the people, environment and the ecosystems.
While those opposing the coal plant were given a handful of minutes, sandwiched between staunch proponents of the project, most of the program focused on running through the talking points of the coal industry, which is struggling to sell to the public a project that has been rejected by Lamu residents.
Landry Ninteretse, regional leader 350Africa.org says “you can’t clean coal. Period. Only halting its production all together will immediately save lives, threatened by pollution and by the increasingly negative impacts of climate change to which coal plants contribute.
On September 24, the High court in Nairobi restored previous orders to halt the Lamu coal project, a further indication of its shortcomings and potential risks. No matter how much money the coal plant industry throws at the issue, either in an attempt to mitigate coal’s contribution to health problems or to have us believe that coal can be ‘clean’ people and environment will be affected.”
“How can we boast about freedom of the media to report the truth, when national media outlets are deliberately covering the Lamu coal plant, mainly focusing on the project proponents yet not include the community and other renowned experts on the other side of the story? The science is clear; the Lamu coal plant poses a real threat to the people of Lamu and Kenyans at large and the only people to benefit from the deal are those who will make the most from it” Omar Elmawi Coordinator decoalonize campaign said.
“What happens in Turkey is not about us. We as the youths of Lamu don’t need clean coal but solar energy since we have sunshine in abundance,” added Leila Yusuf youth leader from Lamu.
A month ago anti-coal campaigners protested at a side event of the global Climate Action Summit to voice their concerns about the planned Lamu coal fired power plant. This is part of a growing movement to advocate for a world free of fossil fuels and powered by renewable energy.