Environ-mental activists on Thursday demanded that the government relocate all power plants, including the Rampal Thermal Power Plant, close to the Sunderbans, to protect the mangrove forest from adverse impact. They were addressing a gathering in front of the National Press club. The Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (BAPA), Save the Sunderbans, Centre for Human Rights Movement, Committee for Agricultural Land Protection, Nagorik Uddyog, Nirapod Development Foundation and Nature Campaign Bangladesh organised the programme.
The environmentalists said the ecological balance of the Sunderbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest, would be destroyed if the proposed thermal power plant is built at Rampal in Bagerhat district, about 10 km from the forest. They also said that the government should select another site for the power plant.
BAPA general secretary Dr Abdul Matin said the proposed thermal power plant would “destroy the ecological balance and biodiversity” of the Sunderbans by harmful effluents like sulphur dioxide, nitrus oxide, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbon. “The power plant will also release huge amounts of hot water that will destroy the freshwater dolphin and various fish species,” he added.
The government has taken initiatives to set up a coal-fired thermal power plant in the Rampal area. India is financing the power project. The government has started acquisition of 186 acres for setting up the 1,320-MW power plant.
Matin said the project would violate the Ecologically Critical Area (ECA) Act, Bangladesh Environment Conservation Rules, forest acts and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Mojahedul Islam of the Centre for Human Rights said if the power plant is set up at the present location, the government would violate the conditions of the Ramser Convention. “The government should go by the rules and regulations of the International Ramser convention as a signatory nation,” he added.
Bangladesh had signed the Ramser convention in 1972. It aims at conserving natural forests and wetlands of the world.
Sheikh Md Shahidullah of The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources, Power and Port, expressed concern over the plying of oil tankers and other vessels in the Sunderban area, saying that it will damage the flora and fauna of the forest by leaking and releasing oil and other harmful substances.
Ashfaq Hossain of Save the Sunderbans, Humayun Kabir Sumon of Green Voice, Tuhser Rehman of Citizen Rights Movement and Seikh also spoke on the occasion.
Source: The Independent