The government of Bangladesh is advancing plans to install a coal-fired power plant in the Rampal region of Bagerhaat district. This project is only 10 kilometers from the Sundarbans, an ecologically critical area, and threatens its very existence. The Rampal power plant will have dangerous impacts on agriculture and food security, plant and wildlife diversity, fishing, the lives of local people and the topography of the region. The power plant will generate 1,320 megawatts of electricity and occupy 1,834 acres of land, which is primarily agricultural and shrimp aquaculture ponds. The distance between the factory and the Sundarbans cannot be considered safe. Its impact on agriculture and food security is so fatal that we cannot support and support the project. Unfortunately, the government is moving forward ignoring public protests. Although an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report was published in January 2013, its methodology, conclusions and recommendations have been strongly criticized and even revoked by many specialists due to its shortcomings in estimates and disclosure of the truth, as well as its ambiguity. The EIA report from the Center for Environment and Geographic Information Services took an area 10 kilometers in radius from the location of the proposed plant’s chimney and showed that 75.4 percent (26,344 hectares) is a net cultivable area (NCA) within their study scope of 34,955 hectares. This suggests that only 706 hectares of NCA will be compromised by the project site, but it actually has a deadly and circular impact on agriculture. Once the plant is up and running, it needs huge amounts of coal and the materials used will emit dangerous chemicals such as sulfur, carbon dioxide, cadmium, radium, arsenic, lead , mercury and nickel. Reportedly, 220 tonnes of various toxic gases will be discharged from the plant daily unless they are properly treated prior to the emission. These gases will be dispersed by the wind and will affect people, trees, soil and livestock. The soil texture (sand, silt and clay) will be damaged by the toxic chemicals released, and this will dramatically decrease the fertility and production of the land over time. Interestingly, of the 743 hectares of land in the proposed mill, 706 hectares (95%) is agricultural land. The EIA report states that 459 of the 706 hectares is a damage-free area and the lost production is only 467 tons of crops, but this is simply an underestimation of the consequences. The EIA report also shows that the loss of annual paddy production is about 9,455 metric tonnes (project area 467 tonnes and study area 8,988 tonnes). The air, odor and sound pollution will affect the local inhabitants and livestock so much that it will hardly be possible for people to live and farm outside the study area. The study area now produces 62,353 metric tonnes of rice and 140,461 metric tonnes of other crops per year. The EIA report also estimates that the livestock and poultry population per household in the study area includes three cattle, two buffaloes, four goats, one sheep, five ducks and six chickens. The power plant will reduce the area for livestock grazing, and waste coal such as fly ash and bottom ash will contaminate the air and water. This will make livestock vulnerable to disease and simultaneously affect the income level of households and farms. The deadliest impact will be on fishing. The fishery resources of the project area are enriched by approximately 120 aquatic fauna, including the hilsha, taposhi, bhetki, parsheand, rita, faisha and tulardandi, to name but a few from the long list. The Passur river is a source of larvae for shrimp and the confluence of rivers offers unique places for the propagation of fish. Aquatic species are already threatened with extinction due to a number of different factors, such as obstruction of fish migration routes, changes in geomorphological processes in rivers, rapid siltation of fish habitats, compression spawning and feeding areas and expansion of culture. fisheries. If the coal-fired power plant is installed, it will speed up the process of extinguishing the fisheries. The plant will need 9,150 cubic meters of water per hour from the Passur River for its operation. The discharged water will be toxic and will have a destructive effect on fisheries. Oil and chemical wastes from ships carrying coal will contaminate the water. The Passur river will be the first victim of the power plant, followed by the Passur-Chunkuri, Maidara and Tidal Khal confluence. The habitat supported by mangroves will suffer as well, and family-owned shrimp farms and fish ponds will be no exception. Whatever report the government has released to get environmental clearance is totally a mess. The benefits of this project can never outweigh the consequences. This initiative must be stopped at all costs. This project will not only hamper Bangladesh in food and agriculture, but also make it vulnerable to natural disasters and calamities that we can hardly imagine.
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