Breaking: Thousands March to Oppose World’s Worst Location for a Coal Plant
Buriganga Riverkeeper Sharif Jamil and hundreds of his fellow Bangladeshis, including BAPA, the largest civil society platform in Bangladesh for the environment, and the National Committee for Saving Sundarbans (NCSS), are fighting to save the Sundarbans, an irreplaceable world heritage site, from the destruction of a massive new coal-fired power plant. To show the government the size and scale of the opposition, they joined National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources, Power and Ports who organized a five-day, 400-kilometer march from Dhaka to Rampal on Tuesday. Their goal is to stop the Rampal coal-fired power plant and all activities that would destroy the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest. It was designated as a world heritage site because it supports an exceptional number of rare plants and animals including the world famous and endangered Bengal Tiger.
The Sundarbans are not only critical to the survival of wildlife, they are vitally important to the survival of thousands of Bangladesh’s people because they provide a buffer to storm surges, cyclones and food sources. Bangladesh is widely recognized as one of the world’s most vulnerable nations to climate change because it is less than 20 feet above sea level. One of the worst floods in modern history struck the country in September of 1998, killing 1,050 people and making 25 million more homeless. It has been estimated that sea-level rise caused by climate change could result in as many as 30 million climate refugees in Bangladesh. Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of human-made carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.
“If constructed, the Rampal coal-fired power plant will not only harm a UNESCO world heritage site and much of the irreplaceable wildlife it contains, but will also fuel ever-faster-rising sea levels that will drown the people of Bangladesh," said Jamil. "Millions of peoples’ lives and livelihoods are at stake.”
The proposed massive 1320 MW Rampal coal-fired power plant is a joint venture involving the Indian state-owned National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Bangladesh state-owned Power Development Board (PDB). But the burden of the polluted air, water and waste is not jointly shared. Most of it will be borne by the people of Bangladesh while India gets the power. In an excellent analysis, Rampal Coal-Fired Power Plant: Who Gains, Who Loses, Economics Professor Moshahida Sultana Ritu shows just how bad the project is for the people of Bangladesh. Joining Professor Ritu in providing additional argument against construction of the plant is Professor Anu Muhammad. He wrote a scholarly point-by-point decimation of the shoddy, incomplete and inaccurate environmental impact analysis and summarized his review of the process used to site the coal plant in the Sundarbans as a project of deception and mass destruction.
During the 400-kilometer, five-day march, Jamil and Muhammad, along with thousands of citizens and activists, will voice their concerns over the risks the power plant poses to not just the Sunderban’s health, air, water, land and wildlife but to the very survival of Bangladesh as it faces the worst potential impacts of climate change. Waterkeeper Alliance stands in solidarity with all the people of Bangladesh who are marching this week to protect the Sundarbans and their country’s future.
If you are inspired by their courage we urge you to support the Buriganga Riverkeeper organization and the NCSS. The NCSS was created to oppose the government’s move to set up the power plant in Rampal. Jamil, along with a team of young volunteers, have also decided to go on hunger strikes in several places in the country.
“We are in the process of making a larger platform to initiate a peaceful movement with the local people to save the Sundarbans from the Rampal Project,” said Jamil.
“The Sundarbans may be one of the most inappropriate places in the world to build a polluting coal-fired power plant,” said Waterkeeper Alliance’s International Director Sharon Khan. “It would be like building one on top of Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. or at the foot of Uluru in Australia.”
Waterkeeper Alliance calls on conservation organizations all over the world to join the fight to oppose the Rampal coal-fired power plant. The need for international support is urgent because the government of Bangladesh recently announced it would lay the foundation of the power plant on Oct. 22, despite vehement and widespread opposition by environmental activists and other social groups.
Sign the petition to stop the coal-based Rampal power plant and save Sundarban.
Visit EcoWatch’s COAL page for more related news on this topic.
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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