Today is the World Environment Day. I am today wearing a black T-shirt as a means to joining other Kenyans in the #deCOALinize movement to protest investments that are being made with government support for coal plants in Lamu and Kitui. I have long been vocal about my protest of coal mining in Kenya and my wearing this black T-shirt today is an additional statement on my part that we must say NO to coal.
We are a country that is known for its creativity and innovation. It is here that the world discovered mobile money. It is here that we have seen many interesting technological advancements. How then can we be the country that invests in such destructive old-school technology as coal?
I recognise that part of the reason that we are in this position is that we have been taking an expedient approach to Kenya’s development. We wanted the Standard Gauge Railway. To do this, we had to make a deal with the Chinese and one of their critical asks is that their investors are allowed to invest in coal.
It is however important that as citizens we recognise that we shall be left holding the bag. We shall be left with a polluted ocean in Lamu. It is our environment that shall suffer, as our skies are bloated out by the thick acrid smoke from the coal plants. We will be forced to go the Chinese way and buy oxygen in cans. It is us who will suffer the cancer and the other diseases that will come with that smoke.
We have to take a long view of the issue and be the pioneer country in Africa that invests credibly and viably in green energy. Lets invest heavily in solar and wind energy. Let us allow international “green” investors a safe haven in Kenya.
There are alternatives that are available to us. We must all say NO to coal.
COAL NI SUMU.