On the fourth day of the Waterkeeper Alliance global conference in June 2016, Buriganga Riverkeeper, Surma River Waterkeeper, Khowai River Waterkeeper and London Waterkeeper have founded – The Waterkeepers Bangladesh and London Waterkeeper Partnership.
The partnership will work together to protect the rivers and waters of Bangladesh and the United Kingdom.
The Partnership will highlight the unique value and current condition of the Sundarbans mangrove forest.
We will engage non-resident Bangladeshis and environmental advocates in Britain and help them promote greater efforts to protect rivers and wetlands in Bangladesh and Britain.
A series of meetings will be held this September to establish the Waterkeepers Bangladesh Network in London. With more than 200,000 non-resident Bangladeshis in London the Partnership hopes that they will speak up for rivers and water bodies in the UK, Bangladesh and around the World.
Early in 2017 a London conference will be hosted by Waterkeeper Alliance, London Waterkeeper and Waterkeepers Bangladesh.
The two day conference will discuss the rivers of Sylhet Division and the plight of the Sundarbans mangrove forest.
Sharif Jamil, Co-ordinator of Waterkeepers Bangladesh said “Non-resident Bangladeshis have a strong influence on Bangladesh and an emotional link with its rivers. They can be a powerful voice for the protection of the environment in both Bangladesh and Britain.”
Theo Thomas, London Waterkeeper said “London’s connection with Bangladesh means people in the city are in a great position to speak up its rivers and the Sundarbans. The Bangladeshi origin community in London can play a key role in the quest to preserve these vital waters.”
Marc Yaggi, executive director of Waterkeeper Alliance, added: “Waterkeeper Alliance is thrilled that Waterkeepers Bangladesh and London Waterkeeper formed this partnership at our Annual Conference. These connections strengthen our movement and help protect waterways and communities around the world.”
Photo shows: Khowai River Waterkeeper, Tofazzal Sohel; Surma River Waterkeeper, Abdul Karim Kim; Waterkeeper Alliance Executive Director, Marc Yaggi; Waterkeeper Alliance International Director, Sharon Khan; London Waterkeeper, Theo Thomas; Waterkeeper Alliance President, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.; Waterkeepers Bangladesh Co-ordinator, Sharif Jamil; (left to right).
For more information please contact:
Waterkeepers Bangladesh Sharif Jamil firstname.lastname@example.org
London Waterkeeper Theo Thomas email@example.com
Sundarbans – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is the largest mangrove area in the world, the largest habitat of the Bengal Tiger and Irrawaddy Dolphins, and the only mangrove forest where tigers are found. This mangrove forest acts as a natural barrier to cyclones and tidal bores, and protects the densely populated agricultural areas to its north. The total area of Sundarbans is about 10,000 sq. km of which Bangladesh owns about 6000 sq. km (60%) and remaining 40% is in India.
The National Thermal Power Corporation of India (NTPC) in collaboration with the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) wants to build 1,320 megawatt coal-fired power plant in Rampal, Bangladesh, which is situated less than 10 miles from the Sundarbans. Placing a coal-based power plant next to such a valuable habitat puts its ecology at risk and threatens the livelihoods of the people who live and work in the region. The industrialization of the Sundarbans would see rivers dredged and straightened to allow large ships to bring in the coal from India and other countries. New roads would carve through the area.
With sea levels rising, now is the worst time to develop the Sundarbans as it would rip away the natural protection offered to 13 million people. We would accelerate mass migration by creating environmental refugees. The habitat is globally important, but crucial for the region. Britain, and London in particular has very close links with Bangladesh and India.
London Waterkeeper wants the Bangladeshi and Indian Governments to follow Sri Lanka’s lead. Earlier this year it became the first nation to protect all of its mangrove forests (in partnership with Seacology and Sudeesa).
Sri Lanka first nation to protect all mangrove forests. BBC news story