The proposed coal-based Rampal power plant near the Sundarbans is yet to get environmental clearance from the Department of Environment (DoE), a minister said in parliament yesterday.
However, the DoE has already approved the Environmental Impact Assessment report on the project, incorporating 59 conditions to be complied with under the Environment Conservation Rules 1997, said Environment and Forest Minister Anwar Hossain Manju in reply to lawmakers' queries.
If actions are taken properly as per the suggestions, there will be no possibility of the plant harming the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest, he said.
The 1320-megawatt power plant in Khulna will rather create employment for local people, increase their purchasing capacity and reduce their dependence on the forest's resources, the minister added.
Super critical technology will be applied during the construction and operation of the power plant to avoid any negative impact on the forest.
In a written statement, Manju also said bituminous coal from Australia or Indonesia having only 0.6 percent sulfur would be used to meet the conditions.
He insisted that the quality of smoke emitted from the plant would be maintained in line with the World Bank guidelines, boiled or untreated water would not be released into the river, and the water treated by the Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) will be reused as much as possible.
Proper measures would be taken to ensure optimum utilisation of fly/bottom ash from the plant.
As part of the mitigation measures, there will also be electro static precipitator, low-NOx burner, flue gas desulfurization and 275-metre chimney to contain air pollution. There will also be ETP, settling pond, waste water treatment plant, de-salination plant, API oil water separator and ways to recycle and reuse water, the minister said.
To prevent pollution caused by coal, coal dust suppression system, closed conveyor belt and covered cargo or ships will be used.
Besides, there will be online monitoring system to control pollution. A coordinated monitoring team comprised of officials from the DoE, Bangladesh Power Development Board and other agencies concerned will be deployed to assess the environmental impacts round the clock.