Bangladesh power plant struggle calls for international solidarity
In Bangladesh, a 1320 Megawatt coal fired power plant has been proposed. A joint venture with India, the proposed Rampal power plant is expected to strengthen bilateral relations with the neighbouring giant. But amidst the growing impatience of both Government's to start construction, there is a strong and widespread movement in Bangladesh against the plant. Environmental activists and concerned citizens alike are taking to the streets to stop the plant from destroying the largest single block of Mangroves in the world, the Sundarbans.
The harmful impacts of coal-fired power plants are too well known around the world. But to put at risk, a natural barrier to rising sea levels and home to some of the richest and most diverse ecosystems, is a very dangerous move. For establishing this 1320 Megawatt power plant, Bangladesh will need to import about 4.72 million tons of coal each year. This massive freight will need about 59 ships each having an 80,000 ton capacity that take to the port which is 40 Kilometers away from the plant and its route cuts through the Sundarbans.
Such projects around the world are being driven by profits more than people and their upliftment. Obfuscation of facts, lack of transparency in the bilateral agreement, an utter disregard to established rules and laws around environmental protection and an undemocratic and forceful approval of the project; Rampal power plant embodies all that is wrong with our obsession over growth.
Lest it appear that Bangladesh does not want development, the protest chants on the streets of the country respond beautifully by saying, "There are many alternatives of power generation, but there is no alternative for Sundarban". A massive rally has started today, September 24th, from Dhaka to the Sundarbans spanning over 400 Kilometers. With educational rallies and protests along the way, concerned citizens want to send a message loud and clear to both Bangladesh and Indian Governments, the plant must be stopped and the beautiful forests of the Sunderbans must be protected.
Marzia Izrat has started a petition on 350 campaigns, urging her national and international community to speak out against the project. Sign this petition and lend her your support in saving the Sunderabans.