Rampal plant mercury to affect Sundarbans: Study

Dhaka,  Sat,  23 September 2017
Published : 19 Jun 2017, 00:37:41

Rampal plant mercury to affect Sundarbans: Study

Mercury to be emitted from the proposed coal-fired Rampal power plant will disturb the local ecosystem and expose humans and wildlife to the neurotoxin, a new study has suggested, reports bdnews24.com.

National Committee to Protect the Sundarbans (NCPS) came up with the new research report on the effects of the power plant on the Sundarbans mangrove at a press conference on Saturday.

Professor Charles T Driscoll from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Syracuse University, the US, made the report titled, 'Emissions, Atmospheric Deposition and Ecological Effects of Mercury, including Emissions from the Rampal, Bangladesh and Effects on the Sundarbans Forest Biogeographic Zone'.

Prof Driscoll concluded after analysing one-year data on the area in Bagerhat district that the proposed power plant poses a 'high risk' of mercury contamination for the aquatic and forest ecosystems.

The ecosystems include the Sundarbans World Heritage site adjacent to the Passur River and parts of the Bay of Bengal, he said.

The study suggests that during the operation of the power plant, mercury deposition would increase by approximately 50 per cent over the currently estimated deposition near the proposed facility, the professor said in the report.

"Because of an abundance of forests, wetlands and aquatic resources, Bangladesh is highly sensitive to mercury deposition," he said.

He also said the concern over mercury deposit was particularly heightened for the Sundarbans Forest Biogeographic Zone, which is near the proposed facility and is projected to receive considerable mercury deposition from the proposed facility.

As a result, the plant would increase health risk to people and wildlife, including endangered birds, cetaceans, and reptiles, that will consume fish from the Sundarbans and Bay of Bengal, the report said.  

It said coal combustion is a major source of global mercury emissions to the atmosphere, and after release to the atmosphere, mercury can be deposited locally, regionally and globally to the Earth's surface.
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