Environmentalists want to keep Bangladeshis in the dark

Several environmentalist groups are adamantly opposed to two new coal-fired power plants that will be built near the Sundarbans region in Bangladesh. According to Reuters, the greens allege that, if allowed to operate, the power plant will do great harm to the world’s largest mangrove forest and jeopardize the habitat of the Bengal tiger.

The Bangladeshi government insists the plants will pose no harm to the forest (which is recognized by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage Site) and the Bengal tiger (which is considered an endangered species). Environmentalists and other critics of the plant are not convinced stating that the plant’s discharge will compromise the ecology of the forest and pose a threat to the Bangal tiger’s habitat. There have been local uprisings protesting the plants spearheaded by environmentalists in Bangladesh calling for the power plants to be sacked.

What also should be of note is what Bangldesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in response to former US Vice President Al Gore’s criticism of the power plants. Reuters quotes Hasina as saying his country desperately needs more power, and that should be indication of the intent of green groups opposed to the plants. They seek to keep Bangladeshis in the dark and, contrary to their claims, do not have local interests in mind.

According to Voice of America <a href= "http://www.voanews.com/a/new-bangladesh-power-plant-resisted-by-environmentalists/3487769.html&quot;?that reported on the construction of one of the two proposed plants last year, Bangladesh has the capacity to generate about 14,000 megawatts of electricity, far short of the country’s current needs. And according to an estimate by the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), the national demand for power will top 35,000 megawatts by 2030. To deal with the problem, the government has plans to set up 25 coal-fired plants that would generate an additional 15,000 megawatts by the end of the next decade.

The power plants would be of enormous benefit to the development of the country and Bangladeshi population. But as far as the environmentalists are concerned, the needs of poor Bangladesh locals (who are in need of access to electricity) are to be sacrificed to preserve the way of the existence of a nearby forest and the Bengal tiger. I am sure if the locals were interviewed they would want the plant to be built since residents could use the jobs and development along with the electric power since they would enhance their quality of life. The environmentalists, however, think otherwise and are flexing their money and power to ensure they get their way. The needs of human beings (other than themselves) be damned.

Some of the groups opposed to Bangladesh’s power plants are Climate Action Network, Timberwatch, Global Forest Coalition and Friends of the Earth International. When all is said and done, the people involved in these groups opposing the plants (most of whom are based out of Western countries) and politicians (like Al Gore) who condemn them will go back to their nice, comfortable homes complete with all of their luxuries while the average and poor Bangladeshi suffer because of their efforts.

It is a lot easier to oppose energy production and productivity when you have a lot of money and think you can tell other people how to live. Besides, what do the lives of a few under class, colored people matter anyway?