Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Greens attacking Bangladeshis for trying to build a better future for their children.
From Paris to Bangladesh, how the climate change accord is imploding
By Divya Rajagopal
The onslaught of a new power plant on the fragile ecology of the Sunderbans is fresh proof of the futility of climate reforms. A ground report from ET.
Until two years ago, 28-year-old Sajjad Hossain Tuhin, a student of forestry, would walk up to the banks of the River Rupsa in Khulna, Bangladesh, to capture the moment of dusk, when the setting sun left the sky lit up like fireworks. In romantic Bengali literature, it is described as the moment to catch a glimpse of a new bride. But Tuhin doesn’t do this anymore. The sun now sets behind the boundary of an upcoming LNG power plant. The banks of the Rupsa are astir with vehicles ferrying rocks and cement to speed up the completion of the plant that will fire up Bangladesh’s economic growth.
At Rampal, a village 14km off the Sundarban forests, four-lane roads are being dug up by construction lorries to make way for a 1,350MW power plant, a joint venture under the Bangladesh India Friendship Project. Linked to the Mongla port, Rampal is expected to light up the entire upcoming industrial belt around the region, and holds the key to Bangladesh’s leap out of the LDC group. It is also a strategic investment for India as it strives to keep its influence intact — and immune from China — with its closest ally in the subcontinent.
Meanwhile, environmental groups are convinced the power plant will destroy the pristine ecology of the Sundarban mangroves, which act as a natural cover against the frequent cyclones and flooding that the Bay of Bengal brings. A drive from Mongla port to Rampal reveals why the environmentalists are edgy. On one side are lush green paddy fields, mangroves, and banana trees that are distinct to the Sundarban ecology. On the other, are giant gas cylinders and cement factories eating up the green cover.
When I read articles like this – how could anyone with an ounce of humanity express outrage that the people of Bangladesh are trying to build a better future for their children? Who gives a stuff about a bunch of Mangroves, when human lives are at stake?
Only a green could attack the economic efforts of some of the poorest people in the world, and think they are doing the right thing.