World

DHAKA (Web Desk) – Hundreds of protesters have embarked on a 400-kilometre march from the Bangladeshi capital 400-kilometre to the world’s largest mangrove forest region in the south, in a demonstration against government plans to build huge coal power plants near the forests.

Activists taking part in the “march”, taking off on a bus convoy on Thursday, fear that pollution from the two proposed coal plants will lead to the destruction of the heavily biodiverse Sundarbans that is both a UNESCO World Heritage site and Samarco-protected wetland.

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The 10,000-square-kilometre forest region, most of which is situated in Bangladesh with a small part in neighbouring India, is home to numerous endangered species, including the royal Bengal tigers, Estuarine crocodile, and the South Asian River dolphin.

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According to Al Jazeera, the protesters are trying to spread awareness of the environmental threat and persuade the government to stop the construction of the plants.

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Dhaka says a 1,320-megawatt plant built by the Indian and Bangladeshi governments and a 545-megawatt plant by the private company Orion are necessary to provide power to around a third of the population who lack electricity.

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It says the country also needs more power urgently because of its rapid industrialisation.

The government has denounced the protests and claimed that the plants will not have any negative environmental impact on the forests.