Coal-fired power plants only to invite disasters: Activists

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Staff Reporter:

Bangladesh is going to face a great environmental disaster due to the government’s move to set up 29 coal-fired power plants across the country in the next few years, feared a number of organisations on Wednesday.

The organisations, including Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa), Waterkeepers Bangladesh, Market Forces and 350 came up with the apprehension while releasing the report of an international study on the impacts of coal-fired power projects at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU).

“When all the countries are opting out of coal-fired power projects, Bangladesh is moving to implement such projects,” said TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman while addressing the press conference.

He described the government initiative to set up coal-fired power projects as ‘suicidal’ one. “Actually, we’re moving towards a suffocating situation.”

Sharif Jamil, coordinator of Waterkeepers Bangladesh and joint secretary of Bapa, made a presentation on the study report titled: “Choked by Coal: The Carbon Catastrophe in Bangladesh”.

He said Bangladesh will add 115 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere annually once all the planned coal-fired power plants are installed to generate 33,250 MW of electricity.

Sharif Jamil said the implementation of the projects is dependent on foreign debt financing and it will add billions of Taka to the country’s external debt. “It’ll cost Bangladesh $2 billion to import coal to run the power plants.”

Of the planned coal-fired plants, China will be providing funds for 18,000 MW while the UK for 3700 MW, Japan for 3600 MW and India for 1320 MW.

Bapa Secretary General Abdul Matin said the plan will directly affect the government’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the jobs and livelihood of many people in the coastal areas will be vulnerable after their lands are acquired to implement the coal-fired power plants.

He urged the government to discard the plan and take a move to implement more renewable energy-based power plants to protect the environment. unb

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