Ahead of the 43rd session of World Heritage Committee, the National Committee for Saving the Sundarbans have come forward with a demand that the government should make public the report on its protection measures taken so far for the Sunderbans.
As per the recommendations came after the 41st session of WHC in Poland in 2017, the government was asked to conduct a strategic environmental assessment on the country’s south region before allowing any industrial establishment there as well as upholding the Sunderbans’ outstanding universal values before initiating dredging at the River Passur.
The next session of the World Heritage Committee will be held at Baku in Azerbaijan from June 30 to July 10, 2019.
Addressing a news conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity on Monday, the national committee convener Sultana Kamal said that industrialisation continues on and around the Sunderbans while unplanned operation of vessels across the world’s largest mangrove forest, over exploitation of water resources and massive pollution go on unabated.
She said a letter on behalf of the committee was sent to the UNESCO requesting it to convince the Bangladesh government for scrapping the hazardous Rampal Coal-fired Power Plant at the close proximity of the Sunderbans.
If the government remained irresponsive, the UNESCO would include the Sunderbans in the List of World Heritage in Danger which would open up new measures to protect the forest, Sultana added.
Enquiring the logic of Rampal Power Plant near at the Sunderbans, botany professor Abdul Aziz said that the government did not pay heed to environmentalists’ request on installing the power plant 25 kilometres east of the present site.
Terming the Rampal project a non-transparent one, geologist Badrul Imam said that the potential damage caused by the Rampal project would not be remedied.
The national committee member secretary Mohammad Abdul Matin and Bangladesh Poribesh Andolan joint secretary Sharif Jamil were also present.
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