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The MAP News
Save the Sundarbans from Rampal power plant – View Sample Letter to Minister
BANGLADESH - Today, in the afternoon of 28 September 2013, we have reached the greater Sundarbans Digraj area after traveling 5 days and 400 kilometers on the road since 24th September morning through Dhaka, Savar, Rana Plaza, Jahangirnagar University, Manikgonj, Goalondo,Rajbari, Faridpur, Magura, Jheneidah, Kaligonj, Jessore, Noapara, Fultola, Doulotpur, Khulna, Bagerhat, Rampal, Chulkathi. Hundreds of thousands of people have expressed solidarity with us to protect the Sunderbans and for implementation of our seven points demand over the course of the Long March and earlier. People from all walks of life have participated in the Long March – left wing progressive political parties, farmers, workers, men, women, students, youth, children, adoloscents, science organisations, cultural musical and theatre groups, film making organisations, reading circles, magazines, teachers, scientists, engineers, artists, writers, journalists, film makers, development professionals, human rights activists and other professionals. The Long March was organized in a protest to have the proposed Sundarbans destructionary Rampal coal based power plant cancelled, and for implementation of the National Committee’s seven points demand. While the the government has been busy engaging in a power hungry rent seeking behavior to destroy the Sundarbans in the name of ‘power generation’ and ‘development’, the people have been active building a fortress of resistance with a mass movement to establish their rights. READ MORE
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How Not to Love Nature: Shove a Coal Plant Next to Earth’s Biggest Mangrove Forest
BANGLADESH - Man-eating tigers have long provided the best defense for Bangladesh’s Sundarbans National Park, the planet’s largest mangrove forest and a UNESCO World Heritage site. These days, however, environmentalists are alarmed by a more insidious threat to the park’s future: a massive 1,320-MW coal-fired power plant that’s due to be constructed just 14 km away, in the city of Rampal. The government insists that the project, a joint venture with India’s state-owned National Thermal Power Corp., is needed to bring affordable electricity to one of the poorest corners of Bangladesh amid rising demand and energy costs. But opponents counter that operating a coal plant so close to an ecologically critical area will devastate waterways and vegetation that support a range of extraordinary wildlife, from river dolphins to the iconic royal Bengal tiger. In a low-lying and already flood-prone country, there are additional fears that without the natural buffer the mangrove offers, people will be even more vulnerable to severe weather. “No sane person in the world would agree to this project,” says Kallol Mustafa, an engineer and member of a newly formed protection committee. READ MORE
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Thousands in Bangladesh march for 5 days to stop proposed coal-fired power plant
BANGLADESH – Last week, thousands of Bangladeshis completed a nearly 250-mile, 5-day march from the capital city, Dhaka, to Rampal, in the Sundarbans area of southwest Bangladesh and home to the world’s largest mangrove forest. The participants - men and women, students and professionals - joined this massive undertaking with one unifying goal: to stop the 1,320-megawatt Rampal coal-fired power plant backed by the Indian state-owned National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and the Bangladesh state-owned Power Development Board (PDB)Home to rich biodiversity, including the planet’s largest mangrove forest, the endangered royal Bengal tigers, and nearly extinct Irrawaddy dolphins, the Sundarbans was a finalist for the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and remains a UNESCO World Heritage site. But it is also so much more. The marchers know that toxic pollution from the plant will not only endanger this rich biodiversity, but also people who breathe the same air and drink the same water. READ MORE
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Borneo: Emergency Call for National Park
INDONESIA – Indonesian environmentalists are sounding alarm. Palm oil company BGA is clearing Tanjung Puting National Park in Borneo to establish new plantations. The tropical swamp forests are among the last remaining places of refuge for the endangered orang-utans and proboscis monkeys. Please sign the petition to the Indonesian government
The palm oil company Bumitama Gunajaya Agro (BGA) is logging large areas of rainforest in the Tanjung Puting National Park and the adjacent buffer zone in order to convert it into palm oil monocultures. Tanjung Puting National Park in Borneo covers an area of 400,000 hectares and is home to unique tropical forest ecosystems. The coastline and the estuaries are covered by dense mangrove forests. Swamp and peat forests still dominate the landscape. The forests are the habitat of the highly endangered proboscis monkeys. The tree-dwelling animals can only be found in Borneo and always live close to the water. Additionally, 6,000 orangutans as well as about 250 bird species and over 600 tree species can be found in the protected area. READ MORE
Mangrove to be planted in North Sumatra, Aceh
INDONESIA - North Sumatra and Aceh provinces have been chosen by foreign sponsors as the locations for a mangrove-planting program for carbon sequestration in Indonesia. The sequestration program is fully sponsored by eight foreign companies from France and Germany. The foreign corporations, Danone Group, Schneider Electric, Credit Agricole Bank, Hermes International, Voyageurs du Mondo, La Poste Group and CDC Climat Bank from France and SAP Germany, have agreed to appoint non-governmental group Yagasu to implement the carbon-sequestration program. Yagasu executive director Bambang Suprayogi said the program was the first of its kind in Indonesia, only the third country in the world after Senegal and India to carry out such a program. “We must maintain this trust and responsibility and answer it with proof that Indonesia has the capability to run the program,” Bambang told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of the Monitoring Livelihoods Project workshop at Grand Aston Hotel in Medan. READ MORE
Traditional Fisher People threatened by Deep Sea Port
BANGLADESH - The fish workers of Sagar Island, around 10,000 in number, are mortally threatened by the upcoming Deep Sea Port. The Deep Sea Port will destroy the most fertile marine fisheries of the region and will evict the fishing communities from their coastal dwellings. The fisher people of Sagar Island have resolved to resist. On Saturday, 28 September 2013, 31 fishing community representatives from all over the island sat together to decide the future course of action in the face of the imminent danger. The meeting was attended by Pradip Chatterjee, NFF Secretary and President of DMF and Milan Das, treasurer DMF. The veteran leaders of fishing communities of Sagar recollected the fond memory of NFF Chairperson Harekrishna Debnath, who pioneered in convening a meeting of fisher people in Sagar Island to form an organisation. The Deep Sea Port will affect the water quality, disrupt coastal hydrology, cause bottom contamination and destroy marine and coastal ecology. All these will have severe decimating impact on the fish resources of this one of the richest fishing areas of the region. The Deep Sea Port at Sagar falls within the Sundarban biosphere reserve, a world heritage site, harboring the planet’s largest mangrove forest and the largest nursery of fish in the region. READ MORE
Estuarine mangrove forest under reclamation threat
INDIA - The estuarine Vincent Island on Ashtamudi Lake at Shakthikulangara in Kollam is a private property covered by over 15 hectares of rich mangrove forests. The island is the only place in India where the rare yellow mangrove (Ceriops tagal) is found. But, the ecologically vital mangrove forests there stand threatened by development activity. The threat to the mangroves on the island, which stands isolated, was noticed when a team from the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies went there last week to collect saplings and seeds of the yellow mangrove for studies and propagation. It was found that a wall had been erected around a good portion of the island as part of a move for reclamation. This has affected tidal activity on the island, and that poses a threat to the survival of the mangroves there. However, any mangrove cover over 25 percent of land gets covered by the provisions of the Coastal Zone Management Notification 2011 and cannot be destroyed. The yellow mangrove, long thought to be extinct, was discovered on Vincent Island by mangrove enthusiasts in 2011. Experts also found another species of mangrove on the island recently. The yet-to-be-identified species has the combined characteristics of the critically endangered Brugulera sexangula and Brugulera gymnorrhiza species, experts say. This species was also noticed by the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies team during its visit. READ MORE
Forest fragmentation triggers 'ecological Armageddon'
SINGAPORE – Species affected by rainforest fragmentation are likely to be wiped out more quickly than previously thought, scientists have warned. A study found that some small mammal species on forest islands, created by a hydroelectric reservoir, in Thailand became extinct in just five years. It also showed that populations in the fragmented habitats were also at risk from another threat - invasive species. The findings have been published in the journal Science. Results showed that almost all small mammals disappeared from patches of fragmented forest smaller than 10 hectares (25 acres) within just five years, and larger plots - measuring up to 56ha - recorded the loss of small animals within 25 years. Co-author Luke Gibson from the National University of Singapore said the team was very surprised by the findings, describing it "like an ecological Armageddon". READ MORE
All human activity banned in Mumbai's mangrove zones
INDIA - Mumbai's mangroves have recently been declared as reserved forests. The government will now appoint a forest settlement officer to settle claims of all inhabitants on mangrove land. What this means is that all human activity is now strictly prohibited in the mangrove areas. "Once the settlement is done, no activity will be allowed in these areas. This will help in better protection of the mangroves,'' said an official. Earlier, these mangroves were classified as protected forests which allowed human activity. READ MORE
Development project endangers mangrove forest
SAUDI ARABIA - Fahd Al-Jubair, Eastern Province mayor, recently approved a land reclamation project for the Al-Jamieen plots, which may lead to the destruction of an ecologically vital mangrove forest in the Tarout Island. The island lies under the jurisdiction of Qatif Municipality. The Green Gulf Society has appealed to Khaled Al-Sufyan, governor of Qatif, to stop the project, which endangers the mangrove forest of 2 million square meters.
“Notwithstanding repeated complaints, we have noticed land filling activities along the beaches parallel to the remaining mangrove forest in Tarout over the past weeks. The warning boards posted in those locations banning such work have also been discarded,” a local daily reported quoting a statement of the society. READ MORE
Value of mangroves compared to converting them to shrimp farms
BELGIUM - The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) is an international initiative to draw attention to the benefits of biodiversity. It focuses on the values of biodiversity and ecosystem services, the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and the benefits of action addressing these pressures. Wise use of wetlands, including the conservation and restoration of hydrological functions, is essential in maintaining an infrastructure that can help meet a wide range of policy objectives. In many cases, natural ecosystems can provide ecosystem services at a lower price than hard engineered approaches. For example, the benefits of mangroves in Southern Thailand were estimated at about US$10,821/ha for coastal protection against storms, US$987/ha for fish nurseries and US$584/ha, in net present value terms for collected wood and non-timber forest products (see Figure 2.3 and Barbier, 2007, where all values are in net present value)9. According to this estimate, most of the economic benefits associated to mangrove conservation were due to the role of the mangrove wetlands as a natural infrastructure against storm. In contrast, the benefits of commercial shrimp farming were estimated at US$ 9,632/ha with government subsidies contributing the equivalent of US$8,412/ha. READ MORE
Mangrove mulching hindered
NEW ZEALAND - The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has been ordered to tighten up its rules concerning mangrove management following a legal challenge from a Tauranga environmentalist. Basil Graeme appealed to the Environment Court following concerns waterfront property owners are obtaining resource consent to remove mangroves because they don’t like looking at them – consequently creating problems for the future. His appeal against the mangrove provisions of the regional council’s proposed Regional Policy Statement was upheld in part last month. Environment Court judge Jeff Smith has now ordered the BOPRC to immediately make changes to the mangrove management provisions of the RPS so obtaining consents for mangrove removal becomes more difficult. “Use of words such as ‘Manage mangroves to avoid the adverse effects of mangrove proliferation’ appears to involve an assumption that proliferation has adverse effects,” he says. In context that is unlikely to be the council’s intention, but Judge Smith required ambivalence in the policy to be clarified. READ MORE
Please allow me to describe at least three crises faced by the nations in the world, including the 21 APEC member countries.
First, the economic crisis that ultimately leads to slowdown in the economic growth in some regions. This also encourages the shift in investment, including investment in fisheries, from the industrialized countries to developing countries and less-developed countries (LDCs). Based on the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM)’s data, the foreign direct investment on fishery sector in Indonesia keeps increasing, from US$ 18 million in 2010 to US$ 29 million in 2012.
Second, the food and fishery trade crisis. It is characterized by import surge of fish commodities in the domestic market, crushed fish prices in traditional market, and ultimately, damage to local fisheries.
Third, the climate crisis. Since 2010, FAO has confirmed that climate change had multiple effects on the productivity of rural communities and areas that experienced high levels of food insecurity. To the small-scale fishers and coastal villages in Indonesia, climate change does not only cause a decline in fish productivity in a number of areas, but it also has a major impact on the security and safety of small-scale fishers and their families.
This is where we need to continue pushing the commitment of APEC member countries to urgently cut carbon emissions they emit to the atmosphere. Because, at least 4 of APEC member countries, respectively: the United States, China, Russia, and Japan have become the world's largest carbon emitters.
On the three crises mentioned above, I want to put the urgency of protecting small-scale fishers with human rights approach. Because, in reality the contribution of small-scale fisheries to alleviating hunger and poverty, providing jobs, and ensuring the sustainability of environment, both in quality and quantity, is very high. Though, around 60 percent of total world production of capture fishery is produced by APEC member countries.
Taking the example from Indonesia, approximately 91.8 percent of the total numbers of fishers in 2009 were categorized as small-scale fishers. Moreover, 92 percent of the fish captured by small-scale fishers is to meet the domestic needs. Therefore, without ensuring the welfare of small-scale fishers, it is impossible for Indonesia to be self-sufficient in food and to eradicate hunger and poverty.
In my opinion, we are currently in the right momentum to establish policies to protect small-scale fishers. READ ENTIRE PRESENTATION
M. Riza Damanik
Executive Director of Indonesia for Global Justice (IGJ);
Board of Trustee of Indonesian Traditional Fishers Union (KNTI);
National Board of KIARA;
can be contacted by email firstname.lastname@example.org
~ WE WELOCME YOUR LETTERS - If you’d like to have the last word on this or any other mangrove related topic, please send us your submission for upcoming newsletters. We’ll choose one per issue to have “the last word”. While we can’t promise to publish everyone’s letter, we do encourage anyone to post comments on our Blog at www. mangroveactionproject.blogspot.com
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|Mangrove Action Project|
Saturday, October 12, 2013
MAP News Issue 325, October 12, 2013
Posted by BlogAdmin at 9:15 AM