The need to develop alternative energy sources replacing the use of coal was raised at a conference in the capital yesterday.
Speakers at the programme discussed the negative environmental impact and human health hazards of using coal energy with particular focus on the Rampal Power Plant.
They further said alternative energy sources must be considered if the country wants to reach middle-income status in 2021.
The conference on "Coal energy in Bangladesh: impact on water and climate" was organised by Waterkeepers Bangladesh, National Committee for Saving the Sundarbans (NCSS) and Waterkeeper Alliance at Brac Inn in Mohakhali.
Four keynote presentations were made in four sessions on the first day of the two-day long conference. Prof Jamilur Reza Choudhury, Dr Mohd Abdul Matin, member secretary of NCSS, and Donna Lisenby of Waterkeeper Alliance, USA spoke at the opening session.
From the environment perspective, using coal energy to generate power in Bangladesh is not feasible as severe water pollution occurs at every phase of using coal from extraction to final usage, they said.
Environmental scientist Prof Ainun Nishat suggested exploring the possibilities of producing hydro-electric power in partnership with India, as an alternative to coal-based energy.
Prof Abdullah Harun Chowdhury of environment sciences department in Khulna University presented a detailed study of the area surrounding Rampal and Orion coal-power projects and showed the impact they would have on the Sundarbans.
Prof Anu Muhammad, member secretary at National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources, Power and Port, among others, spoke.