Hundreds of women, children from fishermen community of Karachi on Sunday thronged into the streets, marched against the environmental impacts of coal power plants. They marched from Arts Council of Pakistan to Karachi Press Club. Carry placards and banners against negative impacts of coal on environment, ecology and communities, while women chanted slogans and demand government to immediately shut the coal based power plants in order to save environment.At Karachi Press Club, addressing the rally, renowned river activist and Chairman, Pakistan FisherFolk Forum (PFF) Muhammad Ali Shah underlined the need to take measures to reduce the impact of the coal on the environment and focus on the communities’ health living in the vicinity. He started his speech with bold highlighted words, “A full stop to all Public finance to coal related projects”.In December 2018, Pakistan FisherFolk Forum (PFF), a civil society group which is working for the empowerment of fishermen has announced to form Anti-Coal Alliance, and also march on foot to highlight the issue at international level. Shah further added the push for coal is the betrayal of the commitment and obligation of governments under the United Nations to address climate change and shift to the sustainable energy systems.Rally took place from the Art council to Press club, holding different slogans to protect the environment and the community health. There were more than 1,000 communities from the coastal belt- Kemari, port Qasim- who raised their voices against the degradation of the environment and community health and coal ,fueling climate change, and exacerbating bating its impacts. He added that transportation, lifting, and dumping of coal in the absence of any safety measures had badly affected the area, particularly nearby areas.‘A full stop to all Public finance to coal related projects’ — demanded Pakistan Fisher Folk ForumHe said that coal consumption is increasing by the industries and that it is being imported in huge quantity at different places i.e. Port Qasim, Karachi port trust and Hubco. Unsafe coal transportation from these areas has been affecting communities health and ruin their livelihood. The affected community of coal expressed serious concern over degradation of environment and livelihood of local people and demanded the government to protect rights of local population. They underlined the need to adopt alternative energy sources like wind and solar instead of coal.PFF chairman briefed the rally participants about threats of coal power plants on environment and biodiversity. Sindh is more prone to climate change due to its geographical location as compared to other provinces. These power plants will destroy the marine ecology and will be very much harmful for the fishing communities of areas.He said burning coal is the largest single source of carbon dioxide emission in the world. Coal transportation has affected lives of people living in the surroundings of the port and nearby areas.He said that coal is responsible for over 800,000 early deaths every year globally and many more millions population suffer serious and minor illnesses. Around 670,000 people die prematurely per year in the China as a result of coal related air pollution; he said adding that in the US, coal kills around 13,000 people annually.He also briefed the devastating impacts of coal mining on the environment and heath of local communities. Transportation of the coal in the different cities of the county from ports is affecting the communities living in the surrounding areas by the coal dust. Transportation, lifting and dumping of coal in the absence of any measures had badly affected the areas and whole area of port Bin Qasim which remains covered in a blanket of coal dust.He mentioned that mining and burning coal harm human health both directly and indirectly. Thousands of people die in the mining accidents each year. Digging up coal often involves the displacement of communities of the Thar, with little or no compensation. In coal mining, terrible working conditions are rife. Accidents are common place.Coal extraction has huge impacts on the environment in open-pit mining. Coal extraction in Thar is done through open pit mining. Open-cast mining destroys the landscape of both pit and surrounding areas. He said, coal combustion spews out a toxic brew of large quantities of carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury and other polluting matter. Below ground, in some abandoned mines, coal burns in the oxygen-filled seams giving off CO2, methane, mercury and at least 40 toxic compounds that can escape through the soil and /or underground aquifers.Lastly, the chairperson PFF demanded that there is a need to mobilize public finance for renewable and clean energy system for people especially the marginalized communities and to stop excessive energy consumption by corporations.Published in Daily Times, March 18th 2019.