Call to stop setting up industries near Sundarbans

Dhaka,  Mon,  25 September 2017
Published : 13 Aug 2017, 21:27:34

Call to stop setting up industries near Sundarbans

FE Report

Protesting the government's move to approve 320 industries near the Sundarbans, environmentalists on Sunday demanded the authorities concerned should stop all activities related to industrialisation near the world heritage site.

They also said the government hasn't conducted any Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) before taking such decision which is a clear violation of the country's laws and authority's commitment to the UNESCO.

The green activists came up with the observations and demands at a press conference organised at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) in the city under the banner of the National Committee to Protect Sundarbans.

The programme was addressed by National Committee convener advocate Sultana Kamal, member secretary Dr Abdul Matin, and other members including Syed Abul Maksud, Khushi Kabir, Prof Badrul Imam, Ruhin Hossain Prince and Sharif Jamil.

In 1999, the government declared 10-kilometre areas around the mangrove forest as ecologically critical, Ms Sultana Kamal said, adding: "Protection of the forest and wild animals should be first ensured before establishing industrial units near the Sundarbans."

But the government has taken the 'catastrophic' decision even ignoring the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's (UNESCO) directives to carry out an SEA prior to give clearance to industrial establishments, she said.

The other demands placed by the national committee include removal, transfer and cancellation of all government or private industrial projects, implementation of 11 proposals of UNESCO put forward at the meeting on Sundarbans in July 2017 in Poland; relocation of Rampal power plant project to another place after conducting an international, impartial and science-based environment survey; and increasing manpower of forest department to protect the Sundarbans.

Speaking at the programme, Mr Maksud said economic development is required, but it should be environment and people-friendly.

He said setting up industries will harm the Sundarbans which will indirectly put impact on the country's young generation.

Abdul Matin, also general secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan (BAPA), termed the government's decision to approve new industries near Sundarban unfortunate.

He also urged the members of the National Committee on Environment to reconsider the move.

The National Committee on Environment gave nod to 320 industrial projects adjacent to the Sundarbans at a meeting held on August 06.
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