A Long March to Save Asia’s Largest Mangrove Forest In Bangladesh

Practitioner: 

Date: 

Mar 11 2016

Location: 

Bangladesh

A group of women walked from Barisal, Bangladesh to Khulna to join up with the long march that was crossing the city that day. By long, I really mean long: this march traveled a distance of 145 kms, walking most of the way, meeting people, holding street meetings and telling people why the Rampal coal plant shouldn’t be built in the Sundarbans.

I asked the women what made them come so far. The youngest one in the group told me,” It’s matter of our survival. Without the Sundarbans, no one can protect us from cyclones and natural calamities. The coal plant will destroy our mother Sundarbans.”

Last week, I was part of the Long March in Bangladesh too. More than 800 people marched from Dhaka to southwestern Bagerhat. As we set out, hundreds of people assembled in front of the press club in Dhaka, and chants of “Long March! Long March!” resonated in the air.

People from all walks of life were there to march the more than 150kms to the Sundarbans. Their goal? Save their mother, the Sundarbans forest. The marchers were protesting the building of a 1320 MW Rampal coal plant. The thermal plant is barely 14kms away from a world heritage site — the Sundarbans forests — and being built on an area of over 1834 acres of land, most of which has been forcefully acquired from farmers and fish pond owners. The marchers called on the government to scrap the Rampal coal plant and halt industrial developments in the area that will inevitably damage the ecologically fragile Sundarbans forest.

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