Lamu coal
Image credit: Greenpeace Africa

The proposed Lamu coal plant is yet again facing hostilities as a number of Kenyans took to the streets on Wednesday (12 June 2019) to protest against the construction of the project.

The protest, led by the deCOALonize campaign and Greenpeace Africa saw communities from Lamu and Kitui marching through Kenya's capital city, Nairobi, to hand over letters to the Ministry of Energy and the Chinese Embassy.

The letters are calling on the Cabinet secretary, Charles Keter, and Chinese corporations to stop investing in Lamu and Kitui coal projects and instead invest in renewable energy.

Open letter to Chinese government

Open letter to the Ministry of Energy

“There is no need to build centralised dirty sources of energy such as coal to answer to Kenya’s energy demands especially when the country is taking the lead in Africa with 85% renewable energy base,” said deCOALonize campaign coordinator, Omar Elmawi.

Elmawi added: "With access to wind, solar, geothermal and tidal energy sources, Kenya’s renewable energy potential is cost-efficient and causes no harm to the people and environment.”

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Lamu coal plant bad for tourism

According to Mohamed Mbwana from Save Lamu, the coal fired plant will ruin tourism and Lamu Old Town – destabilising the county’s economy and the environment.

“Our people will face the most health risks from this plant. The government must prioritise the protection of local communities and the environment," urged Mbwana.

Climate crisis remains one of the biggest challenges facing humankind. Throughout the world, countries including China – directly linked to the project – are divesting from coal.

Studies have shown that the social, environmental and economic costs of running coal fired power plants exceeds the benefits, Greenpeace Africa noted.

“Climate crisis has crippling effects to developing economies; fossils fuels such as coal exacerbates these effects. Kenya cannot afford to ignore this anymore. It’s time to quit plans for dirty, highly polluting coal and invest in renewable energy,” said Greenpeace Africa’s senior political advisor, Frederick Njehu.