Study recommends closure of Punta Catalina due to serious impacts

The Institute of Lawyers for the Protection of the Environment, the Coalition for the Defense of Health and the Environment of the Province of Peravia and the Committee for the Fight against Climate Change, with the counsel of five foreign entities, are calling for the shutdown of the Punta Catalina Thermoelectric Power Plant (CTPC). The entities say the coal-fired plant is causing serious environmental damages estimated at US$7.5 million a year.

The recently released Study on the Contamination of the Punta Catalina Thermoelectric Power Plant points to the negative impacts of contamination by gases, micro-particles and waste from the Punta Catalina Thermoelectric Power Plant, CTPC. The contamination is said to cover a large part of the Dominican territory, all the way to Haiti and reach the eastern coast of Cuba and Jamaica. The aerial emissions of gases and micro-particles from the Punta Catalina Thermoelectric Power Plant, CTPC, and the coal-generated fly ash from this plant that is dumped outdoors in the San José batey, are affecting the air quality.

The study indicates that these emissions are well above the norms of the World Health Organization (WHO) and international standards, and the current Dominican norms.

In the case of ashes, the study indicates that due to their toxic nature, their large volume and poor disposal, the coal wastes are an environmental liability that contaminate the air, soil and surface and underground water.

In addition, the sensitive crops, such as melon and tomatoes, are being affected by air emissions and the mountains of toxic ash from this plant. The presence of a large amount of lime in the waste, which can also alter the soil, is also reducing the productivity of farm land in the area.

The study indicates that marine life has also been affected by debris and coal residues that have caused sedimentation.

The publishing of the study findings coincides with the approval in the National Congress of the bill that creates the Empresa Generadora de Electricidad Punta Catalina (PC), the new entity that will operate the Punta Catalina power plant. The bill is only pending enactment by the Presidency.

The power plant is the most important infrastructure work completed by the past Danilo Medina administration.

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30 November 2022