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17 Apr 2018

Jacqueline Kubania, Daily Nation (Kenya)

Livelihoods in Lamu could be compromised if govt. approves Amu Power's proposed coal plant, says columnist

"At what cost will Lamu coal power plant be to Man and sea?"

Kenya is about to make an important decision about...[Lamu town's] future. On the one hand, the country has an option to stick to its renewable energy resources and abide by the Paris Agreement of 2015 that committed countries to reducing carbon emissions in order to arrest and eventually reverse the debilitating effects of climate change. And, on the other hand, the country, already an East African powerhouse, is chomping at the bit, raring to exponentially grow its industries and transition into a middle-income economy by the year 2030. And, to do this, the people who wrote the country’s development blueprint believe Kenya must turn its back on the climate change agreement it signed and fire up a coal power plant that will meet the energy needs of its future.And Lamu archipelago, the lovely Unesco heritage site on the shores of the Indian Ocean, is at the grand stage where this big economic revolution is supposed to be powered from...

...But even though many residents cannot fully articulate the effects that the coal plant might have on the island’s environment, some have listened to enough anti-coal activists to worry about what will happen to their livelihoods once the plant is in operation. Ali Msuo is a veteran fisherman who has worked this trade since the colonial government was in power. At 72, he is still sprightly and light on his feet, able to make elegant dives to the bottom of the ocean to fish for lobster.He catches them with a hand-held net or a spear. You have to be fast. Ali is fast. And has decades of experience. But like so many fishermen in and around the Lamu archipelago, this father of 12 has noticed that the ocean is not as bountiful as before, and that it takes longer time and greater distances to catch even a fraction of what he used to...The fear is that the coal plant will make things worse, killing the little that’s left and making it difficult for fish repopulation in the region.

Part of the following timelines

Kenya: Lamu economy including fishing, tourism & agriculture threatened if Amu Power gets approval to establish coal plant, includes company response

Kenya: Lamu Coal Power Plant

Kenya: Lamu Coal Power Plant

Kenya: Lamu Coal Power Plant