Pollution and health are inextricably linked

Healthcare workers have lashed out at Australia’s biggest climate polluter AGL Energy after it set out details of a demerger in a recent investor presentation.

The proposal would see no change to climate plans, with AGL continuing to source the bulk of its electricity from energy company Accel’s dirty coal-burning power stations.

Australian healthcare workers organisation Healthy Futures said included waste incineration proposals would also continue to burden communities with toxic air pollution and damage the climate for decades to come.

Rubbery figures threatening health?

Healthy Futures Co-ordinator and GP Dr Harry Jennens said the company could not dodge its emissions by simply moving them around in their accounts.

‘AGL is responsible for double the carbon pollution of any other Australian company and should be replacing coal with renewables by 2030 as set out by the International Energy Agency, yet instead it intends to continue dumping toxic pollution on communities,’ said Dr Jennens.

‘Burning coal releases large amounts of invisible particles that can lodge in the lungs and heart, and doctors see the impact through childhood asthma presentations in our clinics.

‘Waste incineration would cause ongoing health harms in communities, yet AGL could position itself better by focusing on the inevitable rise in genuine renewable energy,’ he said.

Dr Harry Jennens from Healthy Futures

Proper transition needed

Healthy Futures says AGL’s presentation revealed a disturbing lack of clarity on where responsibility would lie for rehabilitation of old power stations and ash dams post-closure, hinting that transition plans could in fact reduce the amount the company would set aside for rehabilitation.

‘Unremediated ash dams in Port Augusta [SA] saw the community exposed to ash dust for weeks, and AGL should not be allowed to get away with abandoning their sites without cleaning up,’ said Dr Jennens.

Healthy Futures is urging all Australian healthcare workers and medical students to advocate for AGL to replace its coal fired power stations with renewable energy by 2030, as a measure to protect health.

The organisation is collecting healthcare workers’ signatures on an open letter which can be viewed and signed here: www.healthyfutures.net.au/agl.