Ansar Ahmed Ullah
Contributing Editor, Shottobani
London: National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports in Bangladesh (NCBD), European Network has demanded the cancellation of Bangladesh Government’s ongoing project of Rampal Coal based power plant situated near world largest mangrove forest Sundarbans. The committee has also demanded to formulate supportive policy and to take necessary steps for alternative energy solution to save lives and nature from coal pollution and to produce cheap and affordable electricity in future at a conference held in Germany.
The international conference was held on 19-20 August at the Democracy and Humanity Centre in Berlin with participants from German universities along with various international environmental organisation’s representative and experts from Bangladesh. Among the participants there were also Bangladeshi researchers, students and professionals from European Countries.
During the last session on Sunday Berlin Declaration 2017 was announced to save Sundarbans and urging to promote renewable energy. More than one hundred- environment, nature and biodiversity based organisations such as Green Peace, Friends of the Earth, 350.org., World Wild Foundation (WWF), Women Engage for the Common Future, Bank Truck have expressed their solidarity with Berlin Declaration.
Berlin Declaration demands cancellation of Rampal Coal based power plant. Berlin Declaration is also urging Bangladeshi Government to learn from the examples of China, India and other Asian & European countries which has already started to shift their power production from coal and other fossil fuel to cheap and environmental friendly renewable energy.
In the inaugurating speech of the first session, Syed Babul, representative of NCBD, European Network stated that the European conference aimed to spread the spirit of the ongoing discussion and movement regarding Sundarbans and the implementation of proposed alternative energy solution by national committee and to strengthen international solidarity.
In the first session of the conference, Mrs Kestin Dörenbrruch from Green Peace and Environmental journalist Katherina Finke presented paper on “Rampal Power Plant and its environmental impacts on Sundarbans”. This session was hosted by researcher of German Geo-science Research Centre, Dr. Animesh Gayn. Energy & power specialist Mr Sankar Sharma and Investment specialist Mr Joe Athialy also joined in this session.
In the second session titled “Coal-based fuel policies and its impact on climate and transformation to Green Energy policy”, Professor of Berlin Humböldt University, Wilfried Endlisher, Professor of Technical University of Cologne, Prof. Hartmut Bärwolff, and Professor of Jahanginagar University, Bangladesh Prof. Anu Muhammed and Chief-in-charge of German Environment Forum Mrs. Elisabeth Staudt delivered their speech and presented their research on the topic. The session was hosted by Wahed Chowdhury, researcher at Humboldt University, Berlin. In the second day of the conference, researcher from Hanover Leibniz Institute for Applied Geo-physic Dr. Mohammed Azizur Rahman and Expert on alternative energy Engr. Mahbub Sumon spoke on “Green energy potential and possibilities in Bangladesh”. This session was hosted by researcher Tanzia Islam from Berlin Technology University. Indian scientist and energy expert Mr Soumya Dutta attended this session through video conferencing and discussed about the benefit of distributive model based renewable energy solution for Bangladesh which will ensure to eradicate energy poverty and at the same time will produce cheap electricity.
In the last session activists attended from different European countries and Bangladeshi citizens living in Europe participated in an open discussion to express their solidarity with the Save Sundarbans campaign. Berlin Declaration was read out by Debasish Sarker and unanimously accepted by the attended experts, scientists, activists and participants.
A photo exhibition was held and during the cultural programme session documentary film ‘Deception of Development’ was shown.