From a report published in this newspaper on June 15, we learned that the World Heritage Centre of Unesco has decided to include the Sundarbans on the list of World Heritage in Danger. This decision was taken as the concerned authorities were worried about the mangrove forest—near which development projects including the much-talked-about Rampal power plant are being built.
When people learned about the government’s plan, they protested in many ways: they staged sit-ins and arranged long marches calling for a halt to the construction of the power plant as they believe it would destroy the world’s largest mangrove forest. But many of the protesters were harassed; they were charged with batons and tear gas and shells, which is a pity.
Although the government believes that such a construction project would not harm the biodiversity of the forest, Unesco and environmental groups believe otherwise. According to environmental impact assessments, the plant would require almost 13,000 tonnes of coal a day and would release an estimated 7.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year—which will severely damage the ecosystem. The mangrove forest is essential for protection from cyclones and other natural calamities. So, considering all this and more, the government must seriously think about alternative ways of implementing this project without bringing any harm to our treasured mangrove forest.
Nur Jahan, Chattogram