Saturday, April 24th, 2021
“Since April 22, 2021, the two-day climate conference, hosted by US President Joe Biden, have been attended by heads of states from around the world. There, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh has made four recommendations in a video message. She focused on global warming, reducing carbon emissions to 1.5 degrees Celsius, ensuring an annual target of 100 billion USD, finding ways to tackle climate change, as well as special concessions on climate finance, green economy and carbon mitigation technologies. After that, the foreign minister said, ‘Bangladesh is emphasizing on renewable energy by reducing coal power plants.’
We have, however, noticed that at various climate summits government officials have been raising the danger of climate change for Bangladesh, the importance of protecting the environment in the country, funding for compensation and renewable energy. We also notice with anger and surprise that the government in its own country, on the contrary, continues to do harmful development projects. It is a well-known fact that the impact of climate change is increasing in Bangladesh and the first to be affected is the coastal region of the country. Dealing with this danger requires, on the one hand, building global public opinion against the main culprits for global environmental destruction including the United States, China, and India; as well as, on the other hand, restructuring development plans in the country in such a way that rivers become more vibrant and forests are protected and expand. There is a need to expand the forest in the coastal areas and make the coast more secure in the face of climate change.
But the government is going in the opposite direction by stubbornly, forcibly, ignoring all the experts’ and public opinion. Both rivers and forests across the country are being disrupted by various development projects of the government. The government is pushing the whole of Bangladesh towards a terrible danger by setting up coal power plants one after another from Matarbari, Bashkhali to Rampal and Payra across the coast. The government is not abandoning the Rampal project which is destroying the Sundarbans. Moreover, hundreds of other forest and river destroying projects are being carried out around the Sundarbans. Various government agencies, including the police, are active across the country to resist protest and resistance against toxic projects.
The Banhkhali project is a recent example of the government’s oppression and the use of force to protect the coal power plant. This project has been established since 2016 on irregularities, lies and murder. This month at least 7 people were killed and many were injured at this plant. Without prosecuting the killers, government agencies have filed lawsuits against the workers.
We strongly condemn such deception, coercion, hypocrisy and self-contradiction of the government. We demand the immediate cancellation of all projects including Rampal-Rooppur-Bashkhali-Matarbari, which are destroying our lives, forest and polluting our rivers. We also demand respectful and reasonable compensation for the injured and the trial of those responsible for the Bahkhali killings.”