A cargo lighter carrying 775 metric tons of coal has sunk in Pasur River in the the Sundarbans, riling up environmentalists again about possible ecological degradation.
Save the Sundarbans Foundation Chairman Sheikh Faridul said: “This will severely harm the marine life and biodiversity of the Sundarbans. The coal is usually used in brick kilns and contains high amounts of sulfur, which can greatly damage the forest environment.
“Due to lack of management, incidents like these keep repeating. When a ship sinks the fuel from the ship spills onto the water body and can cause serious detrimental effects to the environment,” he added.
“When Rampal power plant is functional, cargos carrying coal will pass through Sundarban every day. Accidents like these will become a normal occurrence. Hence, government should halt all power plant related works as soon as possible for Sundarban’s protection,” Faridul said.
He also said how Unesco had proposed last year that the government present a strategic environmental survey before undertaking any ambitious venture, but they are yet to present it.
Regarding this, Professor of Environmental Science Department, Dr Dilip Kumar said: “Coal contains sulfur which reduces the pH of water, making it acidic.
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“If accidents like these keep happening, the environment will be at stake. So we need to be very cautious. An alternate path needs to be devised to channel the vessels carrying coal,” he added.
The coal carrier sinking marks the sixth such accident, threatening gradual environmental catastrophe over the last three-and-a-half years.