Over 150 people attended a public meeting organised by the Rivers SOS Alliance in Singleton yesterday to learn about the negative health and environmental effects of open-cut and longwall mining.
After a screening of the Rivers of Shame 2 DVD, which features ex-coal miner Graham Brown, the residents shared personal stories of asthma, heavy metal poisoning, thyroid diseases and cancers.
Two local doctors presented anecdotal evidence about the disproportionate number of health problems in the Region which could be attributed to the poisoning of rivers and soils from mining dust.
The residents expressed anger at the failed promises of the NSW Government to commence comprehensive health and environmental studies of the region, and indicated that they would be submitting their children to blood tests to determine whether they had been poisoned by lead and other heavy metals.
The doctors expressed their support for the proposal after several residents revealed that they had been victims of lead poisoning.
Graham Brown, who was arrested that morning at a Greenpeace action shutting down the Eraring power station, was not in attendance. Several councillors from Singleton and Maitland councils attended the event.
The meeting unanimously passed a motion calling for comprehensive health and environmental studies in the region.
The meeting came several days after a report from the University of Newcastle's Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE) revealed that thousands of jobs could be created by shifting to a renewable energy economy.
About a dozen Upper Hunter residents indicated that they would be attending next week's Camp for Climate Action.