Australia’s reliance on coal is making the population sick, health organisations and unions say.
A coalition of health groups has released a statement before the G20, calling on Australia to move away from coal as an energy source and as an industry.
They say the health implications of mining, transporting and burning are under recognised by the government, despite a growing body of research about its impacts on human health.
Air, water and soil pollution contribute to cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological, reproductive, endocrine and kidney disorders, and fuel dangerous climate change, they say.
“It is clear, in this day and age, that we should be phasing out coal. It is highly polluting and is causing disastrous health impacts in communities across Australia,” Public Health Association of Australia chief Michael Moore said in a statement.
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation says the union’s voice and the weight of new research about the dangers of coal can no longer be ignored.
“It is time that governments acknowledge the concerns of health and community stakeholders like the ANMF and work with us to find healthier, more sustainable forms of energy,” secretary Lee Thomas says.
The groups, including the National Toxics Network and the Australian Medical Students Association, have called for an urgent shift to renewable energy sources.