Greens want Sunderbans issue discussed at UNESCO

Staff Correspondent | Updated at 12:36am on April 14, 2018


Representatives of 57 green activists hold a news conference at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity on Friday urging UNESCO’s intervention in protecting Sunderbans.— New Age photo

Green activists have urged the United Nation’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation to discuss the Sunderbans issue in its forthcoming World Heritage Committee’s meeting as the government continued ‘to deliberately and systematically disregard’ the decisions and recommendations made by the committee in its previous meeting.
They came down hard on
The government still clung onto its rigid position to set up Rampal Coal-fired Power Plant by endangering the largest mangrove forest of the world, the activists said while addressing a news conference at the Dhaka Reporters’ Unity on Friday.
They hold the news conference to give details on a petition it had submitted to the UNESCO Bangladesh representative on Thursday.
In the petition a coalition of 57 green organisations urged the UN body to include the Sunderbans in the agenda of the 42th session of WHC in July this year to review the risks the world’s largest mangrove forest was facing.
Addressing a news conference called by the coalition National Committee for Saving the Sunderbans convener Sultana Kamal said implementation of Rampal plant and mushrooming of large-scale industries at the world heritage property’s close proximity without conducting strategic environmental assessments were the clear demeaning of the government’s pledge it had made during the WHC meeting.
Sultana said that the letter urged UNESCO to ask India to explain its involvement in construction of the Rampal plant in light of its obligations of the World Heritage Convention’s Article 6.3 that prohibits harming any World Heritage Sites situated in other countries.
Bangladesh Poribesh Andolan general secretary Mohammad Abdul Matin said the government was failed to cast away all the scientific documents the greens earlier had submitted to it assessing potential hazards by the Rampal power plant.
Now the government carried out the project showing only muscle power, he said.
BAPA joint secretary Sharif Jamil, said machineries used at the Passur River dredging project were not of international standard and these posed threat to Sunderbans and its marine wildlife.
The government earlier had amended the Environment Act in December last year to facilitate set up of 190 industries including 24 hazardous ones at the Sunderbans’ close proximity.