Information Minister Hismanal Haq Inu, MP, said yesterday that the government was pledge-bound to protect the Sunderbans and ensure rapid development of the country, simultaneously.
The minister was speaking as chief guest at a seminar on "Fossil Fuels and their environmental and social impact", organized by "Progressive Engineers" at the seminar room of the Institution of Engineers', Bangladesh.
He also said saving the Sunderbans was a top priority of the government and the administration had undertaken several steps for the regeneration of the Sunderbans, most of which was facing natural degradation.
"We believe it provides great ecological support to Bangladesh, particularly the south-west," he said. "It acted as a storm buffer during the Sidr cyclone and many other onslaughts from the sea," he said.
"But that does not mean we will live in the Stone Age. We have to ensure food and jobs for our citizens," he added.
Referring to the Rampal Power Plant, he said, the government had already undertaken adequate steps to absorb the "Toxes and noxes" which are quite prevalent in all older plants including the natural gas plants.
He also referred to the "green belt" around Rampal Power Plant to absorb the carbon and nitrogen gases emitted. "It is being done because unlike the toxes and noxes carbon and nitrogen" can be absorbed by nature.
Justifying the establishment of a coal-fired plant, he said, the problem was not with coal fuel but the technology used. "We will use state-of-the-art technology," he said.
Referring to the severe air pollution in the Indian capital of New Delhi, he said it was because of use of old technology in the power plants. He also referred to coal-fired plants in New York City and said it was largely pollution-free because of the use of latest technology.
He assured the engineers assembled and the nation at large that Bangladesh, too, would use the latest non-pollutant technology for its future projects and upgrade existing ones, too.
He also requested the engineers to create a team of technical persons and investigate the Rampal project and its possible environmental and social impact through a field-level visit.
Chaired by the president of the organization, Engr. Md Kabir Ahmed Chowdhury, the key-note paper was presented by Professor Dr M Habibur Rahman of the Department of Civil Engineering and Environment and also chairman, Dhaka WASA.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)