Poisonous gas threat to Mahabodhi tree in Sri Lanka: Acid coming out from China's power plant

Poisonous gas threat to Mahabodhi tree in Sri Lanka: Acid coming out from China's power plant, many children have got a skin disease

Apr 9, 2023 - 15:51
Poisonous gas threat to Mahabodhi tree in Sri Lanka: Acid coming out from China's power plant

Toxic acid from the China-funded Norochcholai Coal Power Plant could be dangerous for the world's oldest Shri Mahabodhi tree. After surveying the area, the ecologist said that the acidic clouds emanating from the power plant could move towards Anuradhapura, where the Mahabodhi tree is located.
Its symptoms are already visible in the trees around the power plant. The leaves of some tall trees have turned yellow due to the poisonous gas. Many children living in the area have also suffered from skin diseases.
The Norochcholai Plant is the largest thermal power plant in Sri Lanka. Emissions from this 900MW plant have been recorded more than the prescribed standard. This is because there is often a problem of breakdown in the plant. While the residual fly ash and bottom ash coming out of the plant are stored in an open pit. These are by-products from power plants.
Due to being kept in open pits, they reach the surrounding areas with the wind, due to which skin-related diseases have occurred in many children. Apart from this, due to the hot water coming out of the power plant, a large amount of solid, heat and water waste also increases, which harms the environment. This acidic condition is gradually moving towards the sea area as well.
According to reports, China's Sinopec company has talked about investing in Sri Lanka's Hambantota. The announcement was made by the country's media division after a meeting between company officials and Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe. According to the Colombo Gazette, Chinese projects have threatened the Mahabodhi tree several times in the past as well. At the same time, China is going to return here soon after approving the terms of the IMF loan to Sri Lanka.
China wants to increase its investment in Sri Lanka's ports and energy sector. Sri Lanka's previous government leased the $1.5 billion Chinese-built Hambantota port to state-owned firms on a 99-year lease. According to media reports, China had also promised to build a 15,000-acre industrial zone around the port, which has not yet been completed. There is also apprehension that China is working on a plan to build a military base in Hambantota through loans and investments worth billions of dollars to Sri Lanka.
The Norochcholai Power Plant in the North West Province of Sri Lanka is about an hour away from the Sri Mahabodhi tree in Anuradhapura. The Mahabodhi tree is the oldest tree in the world whose written history exists. The Mahabodhi tree was grown from a branch of the sacred Bodhi tree in Gaya, India. The tree is considered very special to Buddhists. They pay homage to the sacred tree every year by visiting it.

Muskan Kumawat Journalist & Writer