Saturday, February 5, 2011

Don’t Let Open Pit Coal Mine Destroy Homes, Lives & Mangrove Forests in Bangladesh


Tens of Thousands of People Will Be Affected By This Destructive Project: Impacts on People, Land, Food & Water Forewarned


The Phulbari Coal Mine Project would establish one of the world’s largest open pit coal mines in northwest Bangladesh, forcibly displacing as many as 130,000 people, including more than 2,200 indigenous households.

The project would acquire and destroy nearly 6,000 hectares of land, 80 percent of which is fertile agricultural land that produces three crops per year. This land currently serves as a vital rice bowl for a country in which half of all people do not have enough to eat (are food insecure, or exist below the ‘nutrition poverty line’ of 2,122 kcal per day). How you can help: your letter can make a difference. The campaign to halt the Phulbari Open Pit Coal Mine is at a critical turning point, with a decision on whether to approve this project expected at any time and a new Prime Minister in place.

Below is a sample letter for your use and names/addresses where you can send it.

Dear {insert name of person you are writing from list below}

I am deeply concerned about plans to construct one of the world’s largest open pit coal mines in Phulbari, and the impacts on the tens of thousands of people whose homes, lands, livelihood, and communities are threatened by this project, including at least 2,200 indigenous people.

The fact that most of the people who would be forced off their lands are from farming households that depend on their land for their livelihoods and subsistence is of great concern - particularly because project plans clearly state that their lands will not be replaced.

Because the vast mine would destroy an important agricultural region that produces three crops a year, I am also concerned that it threatens Bangladesh’s progress toward achieving food security.

The impact on access to water is a further concern, with as many as 220,000 people expected to suffer reduced access to water for household and agricultural use as a result of dewatering operations at the mine, that are expected to lower the water table by as much as 15-25 meters in an area extending far beyond the mine itself.

Additional environmental risks posed by this project are numerous and grave. Bangladesh’s Sundarbans Reserve Forest is the largest remaining mangrove forest in the world. This UNESCO-protected ecosystem supports many critically threatened species, including the royal Bengal tiger, and provide a life-saving natural buffer against the devastating impacts of floods, tropical storms, and cyclones, to which Bangladesh is so vulnerable.

As such, the Sundarbans Reserve Forest deserves and needs to be protected as a national resource and treasure. Yet the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for the proposed Phulbari mine clearly states that plans to transport coal by a fleet of barges and offload it to ships at Akram Point pose extremely high risks to the Sundarbans. Experts also warn that the risk of acid contamination of soil and water is extremely high in this project.

I am aware that the opposition to the proposed Phulbari mine within Bangladesh has been strong and sustained - despite the use of lethal force in August of 2006, when thousands of people gathered to protest the mine were fired upon and three people were killed, including a 14 year old boy. I am also aware the World Organization Against Torture has expressed concern regarding the potential for further violence and bloodshed in this project it is pushed forward without the consent of those most directly affected.


In light of the magnitude and gravity of the risks posed by this project, I respectfully request that you to do everything in your power to oppose plans for open pit mining at Phulbari and ensure that this project does not move forward.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

{Insert your name here}

NAMES & ADDRESSES OF PEOPLE TO WRITE


PEOPLE TO WRITE IN BANGALDESH

Sheikh Hasina, Honourable Prime Minister
Government of the People’ s Republic of Bangladesh
Prime Minister's Office
Old Sangsad Bhaban
Tejgaon, Dhaka-1215, Bangladesh
Fax: +880 2 811 3244 / 3243 / 1015 / 1490
Tel: +880 2 882 816 079 / 988 8677
E-mail: pm@pmo.gov.bd, ps1topm@pmo.gov.bd, psecy@pmo.gov.bd, info@pmo.gov.bd

Advocate Mostafizur Rahman, M.P.
Honourable State Minister
Ministry of Land
Room # 305, 3rd Floor, Building # 4,
Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka, Bangladesh
E-mail: state_minister@minland.gov.bd

Dr. Towfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, BB, Advisor
Prime Minister's Office
Old Sangsad Bhaban
Tejgaon, Dhaka-1215, Bangladesh
E-mail: info@pmo.gov.bd, info@powerdivision.gov.bd

Dr. Hasan Mahmud, M.P.
Honourable State Minister of Environment and Forests
Government of the People’ s Republic of Bangladesh
Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka, Bangladesh
e-mail : minister@moef.gov.bd. jsadmin@moef.gov.bd

Michael Anderson, Director General, Policy and Global Issue
Department for International Development,
1 Palace Street, London SW1E 5HE
Tel: 020 7023 0000 | Fax: 020 7023 0019 | GTN: 3535 7000

Richard Calvert, Director General, Finance and Corporate Performance
Department for International Development,
1 Palace Street, London SW1E 5HE
Tel: 020 7023 0000 | Fax: 020 7023 0019 | GTN: 3535 7000


PERSON TO WRITE IN THE US OR BANGLADESH

United States Ambassador to Bangladesh, James F. Moriarty
International Mailing Address:
James F. Moriarty, US Ambassador to Bangladesh
Embassy of the United States Dhaka
Madani Avenue Baridhara
Dhaka Bangladesh 1212
Email: DhakaPA@state.gov

U.S. Mailing Address:
James F. Moriarty, US Ambassador to Bangladesh
U.S. Embassy Dhaka
6120 Dhaka PL
Department of State
Washington D.C. 20521-6120

No comments:

Post a Comment