Successful Global Day of Protest To Protect Sundarbans
*Thousands of people protest across the world*
*Express deep concerns about impact on 50 million people In Bangladesh*
07 January 2017
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Civil society members across the globe and Bangladesh based National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports, Bangladesh (NCBD) and Sarbopran Sangskritik Shakti joined today in solidarity with the Stop Rampal coal-fired power plant campaign in Bangladesh and major cities in the world. More than 4000 people took to the streets in Dhaka, The Hague, London, Berlin, Halle, Paris, Gwangju, Hordaland, Turku, Kolkata and Melbourne to protest against the Rampal plant that will be built by the Indian company NTPC and BHEL next to the ecologically sensitive Sundarbans mangrove forest. The Sundarbans is the largest single tract mangrove forest and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a Ramsar site, a label awarded to wetlands of international importance. The global call also included a social media campaign to #StopRampal, including a twitter, facebook and tumblr campaign and a release of this video.
“Destruction of Sundarbans by corporations planning to build the coal fired power plant in the name of development is going to make 50 million coastal people completely unprotected. Political boundaries cannot limit environmental destruction to a specific region. It will also impact coastal lives far from Bangladesh too. Our earth is one and environmental destruction affects us all. Therefore we must protect our earth, our common present and future,” said Anu Muhammad, Member Secretary, National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port, Bangladesh.
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) Regional Coordinator Kate Lappin added, “Women will suffer the most from the Rampal coal plant. Displacement, polluted water sources, diminished food security and, ultimately, increased climate change all deepen inequalities. Marginalised women rarely get energy from the grid. Instead the benefits will go to corporations. Conversely, sustainable, renewable energies can offer women energy democracy and decrease gender inequalities.”
We are also concerned that 4.72 million tons of coal per year is likely to be imported mainly from Australia, South-Africa and Indonesia to operate the plant. The coal will have to be shipped for 40 kilometers on the Pasur river, which flows through the Sundarbans. Besides being a huge Greenhouse Gas emitting project, the coal power plant threatens the unique biodiversity and ecosystem of the Sundarbans as well as the livelihoods and health of million local people. In this context, UNESCO has recently asked Bangladesh to abandon the project.
“The right to health for women and children is at risk with the construction of coal plants. Our experience in the Philippines is that many suffer from skin disease and asthma because of ash fall. It is also dangerous to pregnant and breastfeeding women. Food security is also violated because water becomes polluted and coal plants occupy large tracts of land that should be devoted to agriculture instead.” said Edna Velarde, Program Coordinator of National Federation for Peasant Women (AMIHAN), Philippines.
We hope that the global solidarity will lead towards energy democracy where local people, especially women, can make decisions over the use of their resources and energy needs and also open up the opportunity to create worldwide awareness for environment and ecology-friendly power generations and sustainable development that put people and environment before corporate profit.
About National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port (NCBD)
National Committee to Protect Oil Gas Mineral Resources Power and Ports is commonly known as National Committee, Bangladesh. It was formed in 1998. It is a common platform for almost all left leaning political parties, many cultural and social organisation, student group and academicians. Our aim is to attain goals like ensuring cent percent public ownership on natural resources of Bangladesh, upholding national interest in every agreement with any other state or companies etc. The National Committee lead the 2006 Phulbari movement, one of Bangladesh’s most successful movements. Through that movement people were successful in stopping the proposed disastrous open cut coal mine project in that area. F:protectresourcesbd
About Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
For 30 years, APWLD is the region’s leading network of feminist organisations and women. Our 220 members represent groups of diverse women from 25 countries in the region. APWLD empowers women in the region to use law as an instrument of change for equality, justice, peace and development. APWLD has consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. We are an independent, non-government, non-profit organisation. F:apwld.ngo T:@apwld
About National Federation of Peasant Women (AMIHAN)
National Federation of Peasant Women (AMIHAN) is a mass organisation of peasant women and a federation of rural women’s organisations. It was established on October 26, 1986 as a response to the need to give a collective voice to the peasant women. F:amihanwomen
Photo gallery of the event can be accessed here.
For more information please contact:
Mobile: +88 177 648 2864
Languages: English, Bengali
Landline:+66 53 284 527
Mobile:+66 955 282 396
Languages: English, Hindi
Landline: +63 2 922 3982
Languages: Filipino, English
To download the press release please click here