Kenya court blocks coal power plant at World Heritage Site

Kenya’s National Environmental Tribunal agreed with environmental campaigners that the authorities had failed to conduct a proper environmental assessment before awarding the contract for the country’s first-ever coal plant.

The coal-fired plant near Lamu – a Unesco World Heritage Site along the coast of the Indian Ocean – has angered environmental activists, who argue that it would devastate the region’s fishing and tourism industries and harm the health of locals.

Their concerns are backed by Greenpeace, which found that emissions from the plant would increase air pollution, cause acid rain and pump warmed water from the cooling system back into the ocean, according to AFP.

They also say that the Chinese-backed coal-fired power plant would increase the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 700 per cent, reports BBC.

The five-member tribunal agreed with the activists and ordered that a new environmental impact assessment be undertaken with proper public participation. The company backing the project has been given 30 days to appeal the ruling.

“Justice is served at last,” said Omar Elmawi, campaign coordinator from the deCOALonize movement, which had taken the government to court. “We welcome this decision because it shows that communities cannot be taken for granted,” he told the BBC.

Image credit: rguha via Flickr

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