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Bangladesh: Important coastal barrier at risk from increased pollution June 22,2020   |  Source: The Financial Express

Bangladesh coal plants threaten world’s largest mangrove forest, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said. Cyclone Amphan, the most powerful storm to strike in the Bay of Bengal in 20 years, made landfall on the India-Bangladesh coast last month. Amphan ripped off roofs, washed away homes and flooded farms. Crucially, Bangladesh was able to mitigate impact and save lives because of its robust emergency response system with early warnings and mass-evacuations.

A statement to this regard was issued on its website on June 18. But coastal communities were also protected by Bangladesh’s natural storm shield: the Sundarbans. A protected World Heritage site, this mangrove forest holds land together with its roots as the tides rise. As climate change increases the intensity of extreme weather events like Amphan, the Sundarbans are at risk when they are needed most. But the Bangladesh government threatens to destroy these life-saving forests by building coal-fired power plants that could subject them, and the nearly 2.5 million people who depend on them for their livelihoods, to harmful pollution. And while the mangroves slow climate change by soaking up carbon, coal-fired plants contribute greenhouse gas emissions that fuel global warming.

Of particular concern is the proposed Rampal

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