Doctors and nurses urge Commonwealth Bank not to fund Adani mine

Doctors and nurses in stethoscopes and surgical masks carrying placards highlighting health risks such as black lung from the Adani mine will deliver a letter to the Commonwealth Bank’s Board of Directors at its Sussex St headquarters at 12.00pm, Wednesday 7 June.

Doctors, nurses and community members will deliver the Commonwealth Bank’s Board of Directors a personal letter asking them to rule out funding the proposed Adani Carmichael mine because of its potentially serious risks to the health of Australians.

Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA), a medical group supported by a Nobel laureate, recipients of the Australia of the Year and deans from leading medical colleges, says that the massive mine will contribute to climate change, the greatest public health threat of our time. The authoritative Lancet medical journal has condemned the Adani mine as a “public health disaster”.

Nurses from the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) will join forces with the doctors, to highlight the health risks from this mine.

The Adani Carmichael mine would be the biggest coal mine in Australia, more than five times the size of Sydney Harbour, and it will generate more than 0.5% of the remaining global carbon budget for limiting warming to 2 degrees.

Says Doctors for the Environment NSW Chair and Newcastle specialist Dr John Van Der Kallen, who made the trip to Sydney with other Newcastle doctors and nurses: “Mining and burning coal already impacts the health of the Newcastle community. If the Adani Carmichael mine goes ahead, it will significantly threaten the health of people in Australia and around the world”.

“As health advocates we have a duty to inform the public, politicians and business leaders.”

The doctors and nurses will highlight that:

  • Mining, transporting and burning coal impacts health locally in Australia
  • Climate change is already affecting human health in Australia- with increased frequency and intensity of droughts and extreme weather events such as heat waves, storms and flooding and the immediate and long term associated health impacts that these cause.
  • Globally, ecosystem disruption from extreme weather events caused by climate change threatens access to clean air and water, sufficient nutrition, increased and altered ranges of some diseases and adequate shelter.
  • Climate change is an international security risk for it will worsen hunger, drought and international conflict and migration.
  • In India where the Adani coal is destined to be burnt, coal fired power stations contribute to the air pollution that kills an estimate 1.1 million Indians per year.
  • Black lung disease, a serious lung disease affecting coal workers, has recently re-emerged in Queensland.

“Given the potentially serious risks to our health and planet which we need for survival, proceeding with this mine is unconscionable,” says Dr Van Der Kallen.

“As doctors, we witness the pain and suffering that climate change brings to our communities, and we are compelled to speak out much as we have done with tobacco and asbestos.

“We urge the Commonwealth Bank and the government to prioritise public health first and foremost.” Commonwealth Bank has a board meeting on June 13th where they are expected to make decisions regarding investing in new coal mines.

“We will continue to voice our concerns as long as this health risk to Australians remains.”

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