Coalmining damage


SINGLETON — A 100-strong community forum on July 3 to discuss the damage caused to people's health, rivers and water tables by coalmining, watched Rivers of Shame, a documentary made by Rivers SOS that profiles rivers and water tables irreversibly damaged by longwall mining beneath them.

Two local doctors said that, since the dust emitted by open-cut mining and blasting releases toxic substances into the air, local children should have their blood tested for heavy metal exposure, and water tanks should also be checked. The doctors' requests for local area illness data from the pharmaceutical benefits scheme have been ignored.

Speakers from the floor described the extreme dust pollution in the area, and incidences of water containing high levels of lead. They said that the Environment Protection Agency and mining companies are passing the buck for problems that mining is causing and unanimously passed a resolution demanding a full enquiry into the health effects of coalmining in the area. For more information, visit