“Rampal Power Plant will bring 81 percent of loss against only 19 percent good for the country…the project will cause environmental damage for the country’s largest mangrove forest, Sundarbans,” Dr Abdullah Harun Chowdhury, professor of environmental science at Khulna University, told a press conference at the National Press Club in the city this afternoon.
The government has decided to set up 1320MW coal-fired power plant beside the Poshur River at the edge of the Sundarbans under the Rampal Upazila of Bagerhat district. It signed a joint venture agreement with an Indian state-run electricity generation company on January 29 this year.
Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa), Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), Centre for Human Rights Movement, Save the Sundarbans Foundation, Committee to Protect Agricultural land, Bagerhat Development Commission and Green Voice jointly organised the press conference.
Delivering the key findings of his research titled ‘Environmental Impact of coal based Power Plant of Rampal on the Sundarbans and Surrounding areas’, Dr Abdullah Harun said if the power plant is established, the ecosystem, environment and wildlife of the Sundarbans will be badly affected and it will be impossible to bring back the natural state of the forest.
He said the coal-based power plant will also damage the surface water and agriculture of the surrounding areas and affect the livelihood of local people.
The research findings shows that climate, topography, land use pattern, air and water quality, wetlands, floral and faunal diversity and captive fisheries will be affected permanently due to proposed power plant.
It says increasing water logging condition, air pollution, health hazards and destruction of agriculture will happen due to the plant.
Dr Abdullah Harun said a typical coal power plant uses only 33-35 percent of the coal’s heat and majority of the heat is released into the atmosphere or absorbed by the cooling water.
Addressing the press conference, Prof Asif nazrul, a teacher of law at Dhaka University, said the Indian government was trying to set up the project in India, but the Indian people protested the coal-fired project and the Indian government is compelled to set up outside the India.
“Why does Bangladesh government take such a destructive project near a world heritage side?” he questioned, adding that it is the government’s international obligation to protect world heritage sides like the Sundarbans.
Bapa president ASM Shahjahan, BELA chief executive Adv Syeda Rizwana Hasan, convenor of the National Committee for Protection of Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port Engr Mohammad Shahidullah, water expert Engr Enamaul Haque, among others, spoke at the press conference.