On 18 January 2019, the NSW environment protection authority has revealed that the coal waste product sold by AGL Energy Limited (ASX: AGL) has elevated levels of toxic substances in it. The authority has investigated on the company’s coal waste product, and the authority revealed that they found an evidence that the product has toxic substances in it such as chromium, cadmium, and copper. The environmentalists and various unions raised their voices against the company that the AGL would suspend its sales of the coal ash as a precaution.
AGL Energy Limited is under the energy sector which provides sustainable energy.
Coal ash is the waste that remains with the company after coal is burned and is used for generating electricity. Usually, coal ash product gets disposed or gets sold or sometimes gets reused.
As stated by an Environmental Protection Authority spokesperson, this is a serious matter and they have launched an investigation so that they can get a detailed report about the matter.
The authority has informed the company that they need to submit their coal ash testing records along with that they need to submit those records which shows where and how much coal ash has been distributed.
The company has also revealed that their decision was encouraged after seeing the coal ash results, which indicates the high levels of various heavy metals which exceed the limits set by the EPA (Environment Protection Authority).
The external experts suggest that the indicated levels do not pose any serious threat to the public or for any worker health and that the product of the company also does not pose any threat to the environment.
As stated by AGL’s executive general manager of group operations Mr. Doug Jackson, that they accept their failure to maintain the ethical practices and they have also started an in-depth review in this matter. They have also informed the concerned authorities - EPA, NSW Health, and Safework NSW, about this matter.
The company had also contacted all businesses who purchased the coal ashes and instructed them to stop the distribution of the product.
On this matter, environmentalists reacted with surprise, and Ms. Bronya Lipski had mentioned that the public had a valid reason to be worried. Ms. Lipski is a lawyer with Environmental Justice Australia, and she also mentioned that the incident is disturbing.
The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) had not been informed about the test results. Union’s secretary Justin Page stated that the results are scary.
Stock performance: The shares of AGL Energy Limited closed the day’s session at A$20.900 (18 January 2019), up by 0.9666%, on 18 January 2019. The shares are currently trading (as at 12:56 PM, 21 January 2019) at A$20.915, up by 0.072% with a market capitalization of circa $13.71 billion and 655.83 million outstanding shares. In the time span of the previous six months, the stock has delivered a negative return of 3.06%. During the last one month, AGL delivered the positive return of 4.55%.
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