The economy of a country is mainly defined or measured upon the energy sources of that country. The developed countries, being more industrialized, need more energy or power and thus their economy progresses. As a developing country, Bangladesh is also trying to establish more industries, workshops, mills & factories which are demanding more power or energy. For this, the government is encouraging private sectors to establish power plants though they are not focusing on the environmental issues. Rampal Power Plant is one of them.
The term of Rampal Power Plant was first brought into the headline after the visit of the prime minister of Bangladesh to India in 2010 where it was said to establish a coal based power plant of 1320 MW at Rampal, near Sundarbans, which will be supervised by India’s National Thermal Power Corporation and Power Development Board of Bangladesh. But experts and environmentalists are protesting against the decision from the very beginning.
The Department of Environment are saying in their environmental reports that Rampal power plant is 14 km away from the Sundarbans. They are claiming that a plant is safe for a forest at the outside of 10 km radius. But experts are saying that the plant is only 9km away from the Sundarbans which will affect the environment drastically. Same kind of power plant was proposed to be built in Chattisgarh in India, but the Indian government had denied the proposal terming it ‘highly threatening to environment ‘.
The place which is selected for the power plant consists of farming lands, fisheries and habitations. The government needs to acquire 2000 acres of land. Almost 95% of the targeted land is capable of being harvested thrice a year. The water sources of that area supplies 500 tonnes of fish every year. This valuable land can’t be recovered anywhere else of the country.
There are some damages that will occur during the development stage of the power plant. They are – increased water transports, undue chemical discharge from naval vehicles, sound & light pollution which will potentially disturb the natural habitats of local rivers & forests. Deforestation will also happen.
At Rampal Power Plant, for producing 1320 MW power, five million ton of coal will be burnt. This amount coal will produce or will be converted to different types Green House gases like CO2 (about 8M tonnes), SO2 (about 142 tonnes), that will change the natural ratio of the atmosphere. It will hamper the environment of the Sundarbans forrest. The temperature of that area will rise also.
It can’t be denied that energy is needed greatly for the economical progress for our nation. But that necessity mustn’t be fulfilled through a project which has serious environmental issues mentioned above. Rather we can focus on environmental friendly projects of power generation like wind mill which is a renewable source of energy and cost effective also. If we affect our forest , then we will also be affected in future through different calamities. So, the government must step back from the decision.