January 6, 2017

Organizations in Bangladesh Call for Global Day of Protest for the Sundarbans

The Sundarbans is the world’s largest single tract of mangrove forest, extraordinarily rich in biodiversity, a Ramsar Site and listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Encompassing lands on India and Bangladesh, this site is now in grave danger of losing its unique biodiversity and extraordinary ecosystem from a planned coal-fired power plant along with many other commercial projects in and around its forest area. To preserve the Sundarbans’ outstanding universal value, the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports has called calling for a Global Day of Protest for the Sundarbans on January 7, 2017.

During the grand rally that took place on November 26th, 2016 in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, organized by the National Committee and attended by more than 15,000 people from different parts of the country, the call for this Global Day of Protest was made in order to raise a collective voice around the world to save the Sundarbans.

In their communication, the National Committee stated that  “we believe the observance of a global day would strengthen our unity, uphold our common spirit, and take our struggle to a new level to protect the mother-nature from the disastrous profit hungry projects. The global solidarity would 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.”

The joint project of PDB (Bangladesh) and NTPC (India) to build the 1320 MW Rampal coal-fired power plant poses a deadly threat for the survival of the Sundarbans. In addition, a range of national and international vested interest groups have been invited to grab forest land and set up hundreds of commercial projects in and around the Sundarbans. This not only puts the livelihoods of at least 3.5 million people at risk, but it makes the lives of around 50 million coastal people vulnerable to natural disasters as the Sundarbans also represent a natural safeguard against frequent cyclones, storms and other natural disasters in the country.

Along the 5 years of existence of the popular movement for the cancellation of the Rampal Power plant, people around the world have expressed their solidarity for the campaign to save Sundarbans.

The call for the Global Day of Protest for the Sundarbans asks activists, environmental groups, political parties and people around the world to join this cause by expressing solidarity and taking up various forms of activities, including:

  • Staging demonstrations/human chains and sending written appeals to the embassies of Bangladesh and India

  • Organizing cycling rallies, boat rallies, or creating theatre plays, songs, cartoons, masks

  • Making appeals to United Nations

  • Campaigning and sharing information with international press/media

  • Sending protest/solidarity video messages.


Note to editors:

See the communication from the National Committee National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports on this link.