UK-Environmentalists Rallied with Bangladeshis to Save the Sundarbans on Global Day of Protest

  • Thousands of environmentalists protested across the globe
  • Successful protests held in Bangladesh, UK and 16 more countries expressing grave concerns about devastating impact of Rampal power plant

 

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Saturday, the 7th January 2017,  has been celebrated as a Global Day of Protest to Save the Sunderbans and to stop the Rampal coal-power plant. Alongside nationwide protests in Bangladesh, UK’s green activists together with environmentalists of Bangladeshi community in the UK staged a colourful and loud demonstration at Altab Ali Park in London. Over 40 community activists and many transnational environmentalists rallied with beautiful placards and banners displaying powerful images of tigers, rivers, trees, humans and signs of large waving hands as symbols of ‘NO’.  They shouted “‘No’ to Rampal Power Plant”.

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In the two hour-rally, organised by the Committee to Protect Oil-Gas-Mineral Resources, Power and Port in Bangladesh, speakers said that it is incredible that Bangladeshi government entered a deal with Indian corporations to build coal-fired plant in Rampal, which would leave devastating impact on 50 million people in Bangladesh and the world’s largest mangrove, called the Sundarbans. When UK, Germany, Denmark and Finland are rethinking about the negative aspects of coal-energy, Bangladeshi government has chosen dirty coal energy that would destroy the country’s ecology.  Protesters called on Bangladeshi government to scrap the contentious deal with India with immediate action.

 

Meanwhile, more than 4000 people took to the streets in Dhaka, Berlin, Halle, The Hague, Paris, Gwangju, Hordaland, Kolkata, Turku, New York, Melbourne and many other states of the world to protest against the Rampal plant that will be built by the Indian company, called the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), within 9 kilometers to an ecologically sensitive area, called the Sundarbans mangrove in Bangladesh.

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The Sundarbans is the largest single tract mangrove forest. It is extraordinarily rich in biodiversity, and is a World Heritage site.  But it is now in grave danger of losing its unique biodiversity and rare eco-system because of a planned coal fired power plant in Rampal. The threats to the Sundarbans are so critical that the UNESCO has also warned that the Sundarbans “may fall in grave danger if the planned coal-fired power-plant is established”.

 

The 1320 MW Rampal coal-fired power plant is a joint project of Power Development Board of Bangladesh and NTPC and BHEL of India. It is a great threat to the survival of Sundarbans because it would not only pollute environment by the coal-power plant but also is inviting a range of national and international vested interest groups to seize forest and to set up hundreds of commercial projects in and around the mangrove which would destroy the forest.

“The project has not only put the livelihood of at least 3.5 million people at risk, it has made the lives of around 50 million coastal people vulnerable to natural disasters as the Sundarbans have also been a huge natural safe guard against frequent cyclone, storm and other natural disasters in the country”, said Professor Anu Muhammad –  the member secretary of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port in Bangladesh (NCBD).

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The NCBD has declared a five-year peoples movement for the cancellation of Rampal power plant earlier. Saturday’s global action was part of this long-term movement that has been shared with hundreds of green activists across the world. The call for global day of protest was first heard at a grand rally on November 26, 2016 at the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka which was attended by over 15 thousands of people from across Bangladesh. In response to the call for a global day of protest, demonstrations, rallies and public meetings were held in Bangladesh, India, Australia,  Canada, Germany, Finland, France, Italy, Indonesia, Nepal,  Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, UK and USA. Thousands of protesters across the world vowed that they will stand with the movement to save the Sundarbans from mass destruction, and will work together to build a stronger global movement which would uphold public interest before profit.

As a next step to this global day of action, the NCBD has called for a half-day strike to be held on 26 January, 2017. The UK branch of the NCBD and Phulbari Solidarity Group will also hold public meeting in the UK in solidarity with the strikers in Bangladesh.

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Read More:

Protests held globally against Rampal plant: Dhaka Tribune on 08 January 2017 [http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/environment/2017/01/08/protests-held-globally-rampal-plant/]

Successful Global Day of Protest To Protect Sundarbans: Asia Pacific Women, Law and Development on 07 January 2017 [http://apwld.org/press-release-successful-global-day-of-protest-to-protect-sundarbans/]

UN tells Bangladesh to halt mangrove-threatening coal-plant: The Guardian on 19 October 2016 [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/19/un-tells-bangladesh-to-halt-mangrove-threatening-coal-plant]

Further updates and more photos are available on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/218877755230424/

 

 

 

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Protest against Destructive Rampal Power Plant this Thursday

By Rumana Hashem

Despite nationwide protests and international campaigns against the controversial coal power plant in Rampal, Bangladeshi government has approved India‘s NTPC proposed Rampal power plant which, if implemented, will destroy the world’s largest mangrove, the Sundarbans. Bangladeshi and Indian governments have signed a destructive deal in July, the month of International Mangrove Action, when the world is supposed to celebrate International Mangrove Day.

On 13 July, Bangladesh and India have signed an agreement which enables India’s state run Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd. to implement the Rampal thermal power plant. The proposed plant would be built in 14 kilometres to the Sundarbans, a treasured ecosystem along Bangladesh’s coast.

It is outrageous that the governments of the two neighbouring states, Bangladesh and India, have disregarded the global calls and conspired to abandon people’s urge to prevent the construction of disparaging coal-power plant in Rampal from happening. They let Bangladesh’s only mangrove forest, Sundarbans, to be destroyed for self-interests. This deal has been signed at a time when Bangladesh has been undergoing political turmoil and religious genocide. The nation was focused on Gulshan attack when the two governments have approved the destructive deal.

The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Port-Power and Mineral Resources in Bangladesh (NCBD) will march to the Prime Minister’s Office this Thursday, 28th July, to protest against the deal.

 

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In solidarity with the protesters in Bangladesh, the UK branch of NCBD will rally against the destructive deal at 6.30pm on the same day at Altab Ali Park in East London.

Please join us along with your friends and raise your voice against this destructive project. Our outcry can protect the world’s largest mangrove forest, the local environment in Bangladesh, its ecology and species. #SavetheSundarbans

 

Read further news here:

A new power plant could devastate the world’s largest mangrove forest

Bangladesh, India sign Rampal power plant construction agreement

Additional information and news:

1.“Bangladesh Sticks With Coal Power Plant Project Despite Major Backlash,” Mongabay, February 16, 2016,
http://news.mongabay.com/2016/02/bangladesh-sticks-with-coal-power-plant-project-despite-major-backlash/

2. Anu Muhammad & Sheikh Muhammad Shaheedullah, “Manipulating Rampal,” Dhaka Tribune, March 31, 2016,
http://www.dhakatribune.com/op-ed/2016/mar/31/manipulating-rampal

  1. Dr. Abdullah Harun Chowdhury, “Environmental Impact of Coal Based Power Plant of Rampal on the Sundarbans and Surrounding Areas,” Khulna University, http://bagerhatsociety.com/apanel/admin/download/tdwn2573136.pdf
  2. “Ganges River Dolphin,” World Wildlife Foundation,http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/ganges-river-dolphin
  3. “Orion Signs Deals for Generators for its 660MW Power Plant,” The Daily Star, May 11, 2014, http://www.thedailystar.net/orion-signs-deals-for-generators-for-its-660mw-power-plant-23556
  4. Sönke Kreft, David Eckstein, Lukas Dorsch, and Livia Fischer, “Global Climate Risk Index 2016,” GermanWatch, November 2015, http://germanwatch.org/fr/download/13503.pdf