Bali, Indonesia 13 July 2018 – The proposed expansion of a coal-fired power plant in northern Bali could lead to mercury contamination, increased carbon emissions, thousands of premature deaths and endanger the island’s tourist industry, according to new figures released today by Greenpeace Indonesia.

The research shows the dangerous impacts to both public health and the island’s ecosystems of adding two new coal units to the Celukan Bawang coal-fired plant.[1]

Air pollution from the plant is already harming the health of the people of Bali, causing an estimated 190 premature deaths a year.  If the plant is allowed to expand, adding two 330 MW coal-fired units, the annual premature deaths could rise to 740.  With a typical 30-year operating life, the power plant could cause around 19,000 premature deaths.

The danger to public health comes from emissions of PM2.5 and NO2 with the risk in Indonesia being particularly high because of pollution control requirements which are some of the weakest in Asia – far weaker than those in China or Japan.

On Thursday, Greenpeace air pollution analyst Lauri Myllyvirta submitted a report on the plant’s toxic emissions and health impacts to a court hearing the complaint on the power plant’s expansion.

“The expansion of the power plant in Bali, one of world’s leading tourist destinations, could expose 200,000 people to unsafe air pollution levels, and 30,000 people to potentially unsafe levels of mercury deposition. Toxic emissions are also a threat to the dolphin population and other vulnerable ecosystems in the area around the plant.” said Myllyvirta.

Hindun Mulaika, climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Indonesia, said:

“This proposed expansion is an outrage, especially as it is being pushed through by the Bali governor without any assessment whatsoever of mercury and other toxic impacts. Not even the amount of mercury emissions has been disclosed.”

Villagers have complained to Greenpeace Indonesia about an increase in respiratory problems caused by emissions from the plant.[2]

Bali is the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia, attracting millions of visitors a year, mostly from countries in the region like China, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. Celukan Bawang plant is located only 20 km from Lovina Beach, an up-and-coming tourist area famous for its black sand beaches, coral reefs and dolphins.

Mercury emissions, air pollution and acid rain from the coal plant would harm the burgeoning tourist industry and the environment of nearby West Bali National Park, the home of protected species including the Javanese leopard, the pangolin and the Bali starling, which are all critically endangered.

Tourism is vital to the local economy, supporting about one out of every three jobs in Bali.   Polluted air from the coal plant will drive these tourists away, putting thousands of jobs at risk and undermining the government’s plan to expand tourism in Indonesia.[3]

“The government wants to attract more foreign tourists to Bali, but who will want to visit an island where the air is polluted by coal plant emissions,” said Hindun Mulaika.

“The environment and economy of Bali is being sacrificed for the benefit of a power company when the electricity from this plant isn’t even required. There is already more than enough power on the Java-Bali grid to meet people’s needs.

“When the dolphins have left, the coral reefs have died and the plants and animals of West Bali National Park have disappeared, then something of Bali will have died too. Tourism will dry up, jobs will be lost and by then it will be too late to do anything about it.  We are calling on the governor to protect the paradise of Bali, and not condemn it to a dirty, polluted future.”

ENDS

Notes:

  1. Infographic: Polluting Paradise
  2. Report: Polluting Paradise
  3. Indonesia’s booming tourism industry – The Diplomat

Contacts:

Greenpeace Air Pollution Analyst, Lauri Myllyvirta, +6282145684355, lauri.myllyvirta@greenpeace.org

Climate and energy campaigner, Greenpeace Indonesia, Hindun Mulaika, +628118407113, hindun.mulaika@greenpeace.org