Halda Pollution: Ctg power plant fined

Asked to suspend operations until ETP is set up
River pollution in Bangladesh
The power plant of Chattogram responsible for releasing untreated furnace oil to a nearby water body that connects to the Halda river is fined Tk 20 lakh on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 for damaging the environment. Star file photo

A peaking power plant in Hathazari has been ordered to suspend operation after officials found that it had been polluting the Halda river.

The Hathazari 100MW Peaking Power Plant can go back to operation when it has a functional effluent treatment plant (ETP), according to the order issued yesterday by Chattogram Department of Environment.

The DoE also slapped it with a Tk-20 lakh fine for releasing oil and grease to a canal that flows down to the Halda, a unique ecosystem where carp can breed naturally.

Officials found 3,150 times higher than acceptable levels of oil and grease in water samples.

The DoE served the power plant with a notice on July 8 after the upazila nirbahi officer lodged a complaint over the matter against the plant.

Also read: Power plant’s furnace oil dumped into water body linked to Halda river in Chattogram

A DoE team later tested the water and found the allegations to be true.

Muktadir Hasan, assistant director of the Chattogram DoE, told The Daily Star that there were also other pollutants in the water.

“We collected water samples from the spot where a drain from the plant meets the canal. The result was shocking,” he added.

He added that the water samples were tested at the DoE laboratory.

The power plant has long been accused of releasing untreated effluents to Morachora.

In 2012, the plant was fined Tk 10 lakh for the same offences. But the fine was waived on the condition that the plant would build its ETP.