An Egyptian environmental coalition named “Egyptians Against Coal” (EAC) released a statement today calling for the end of coal usage in Egypt by 2017. The grassroots movement objects to coal being used for industrial use and electricity generation due to its “hazardous environmental threats,” according to the statement.
The coalition has nearly 160,000 followers on Facebook and has made a number of headlines over the past year, as the issue of coal has been increasingly raised. The Egyptian government approved the use of coal for electricity generation in April 2014, in an effort to alleviate the country’s energy shortage.
Most recently, the group denounced the decision by the Ministry of Environment to allow studies into the use of coal by industrial producers, notably the cement industry. In August, the group condemned the decision of the Environment Ministry to allow the import of coal into Egyptian ports and the manner in which coal imports were regulated. EAC stated that “allowing the import of coal in Egypt’s ports is a serious crime against public health, the environment, Egypt’s economy – especially the tourism sector.”
Use of coal has been a divisive issue since it was first approved in 2014. At the time, environmentalists who objected to the decision were joined by the Ministers of Environment and Tourism.
A recent meeting discussed methods for advocacy and raising awareness of the issue. According to Amena Sharaf of the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR), the group will soon release booklets detailing the issues surrounding coal use and alternative energy.