Can you imagine what it's like to live next to an opencast coal mine?
Alyson Austin has lived in Merthyr Tydfil, south Wales, for 11 years. She explains why she’s opposing plans for a massive new opencast coal mine on her doorstep.
"Can you imagine what it’s like to live on the edge of an opencast coal mine?
"Because that’s where I live – next to the Ffos-y-fran opencast coal mine that overshadows the town of Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales.
"The dust from the mine soils our washing and coats every flat surface. Merthyr already has sky-high rates of lung disease."
About Welsh opencast coal mining
"The company that runs the mine has dug out 5 million tonnes of coal from it so far, and is set to extract another 6 million tonnes before they’re done.
"But now the same company wants to dig another vast opencast coal pit on the other side of the hill, at Nant Llesg. We simply can’t let them."
Dangers of opencast coal mining
"The local effects of digging up more and more coal are devastating enough - and the global impacts are terrifying.
"Coal is the dirtiest, most high-carbon form of fossil fuel - and we need to leave 80% of all fossil fuels in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change."
Deadline of 5 August
"We only have until 5 August to convince Caerphilly County Councillors to stop the new mine. So please help me and others in my community stop the new mine by signing our letter to the Councillors."
"In May, Welsh Assembly Members voted for a moratorium on opencast coal mining in Wales. But the Welsh Government has so far ignored the Assembly."
About Welsh coal
"Welsh coal kickstarted the Industrial Revolution. That’s a proud part of our heritage.
"But it's history now and it’s time to move to cleaner, greener and less destructive sources of energy.
"Our struggle is part of the same fight against fossil fuels across the UK and the world.
"So let’s make this decision on the Nant Llesg opencast coal mine a line in the sand - a moment at which we say together: 'Leave fossil fuels in the ground - for all our sakes."
This story was originally published on 11 June 2015
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