Energy and Power Engineering, 2013, 5, 1521-1525
doi:10.4236/epe.2013.54B288 Published Online July 2013 (
Consideration of Environmental Effect of Power
Generation: Bangladesh Perspective
Iftekhar Zaman Arnab, Tausif Ali, M. Shidujaman, Md. Mayen Hossain
Dept. of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, American International University-Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Received 2013
Nowadays for power generation, environment is a major consideration. The heart of power generation is power station.
At present there are almost above 40(Both Government & Rental) power station in Bangladesh. Among these 80% of
power station is gas based. Rest of the 20% is coal, liquid and furnace oil based. Bangladesh has only one Hydraulic
power station. These gas and coal based power stations are giving adverse effect in Bangladesh. The main emissions
from coal combustion at thermal power plants are carbon dioxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NO), sulfur oxides (SO),
chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and air- borne inorganic particles such as fly ash, soot, and other trace gas species. Carbon
dioxide, methane, and chlorofluorocarbons are greenhouse gases. These emissions are considered to be responsible for
heating up the atmosphere, producing a harmful global environment. It is known to all that hydro power station is a
clean source of energy, but it has also some ecological and environmental effect. Dhaka is one of the top polluted city in
the world. So for power generation if th e environmental effect is not considered then Bangladesh will be in great trouble.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the present and future possible environmental effect of power generation in Ban-
Keywords: Environment; Pollution; Power Generation; Air pollution; Water Pollution; Thermal Pollution; Acid Rain;
Renewable Energy; Nuclear Power Plant
1. Introduction
Bangladesh is a developing country [1].But Bangladesh's
energy infrastructure is quite small, insufficient and
poorly managed [2] .So Bangladesh is facing huge load
shedding of electricity. In Bangladesh electricity power
is not generating as much as our demand. According to
the official statistics, the country’s electricity shortage
gone up 1000 megawatts (MW) to 1259 MW [3].So
Bangladesh aims to develop the indigenous energy re-
sources which play a vital role in the socio-economic
development of the country. Government has declared
its vision to make electricity available for all by 2020. To
fulfill this vision, Government plans to increase power
generation [4]. The production and consumption of elec-
tricity lead to environmental impacts [5]. One of the ma-
jor concerns now-a-days is global warming. Global
warming or the greenhouse effect is an environmental
issue that deals with the potential for global climate
change due to increased levels of atmospheric green-
house gases. This means that when combusted, coal and
oil release higher levels of harmful emissions, including
a higher ratio of carbon emissions, nitrogen oxides (NOx),
and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Coal and fuel oil also release
ash particles into the environmen t, substances that do not
burn but instead are carried into the atmosphere and con-
tribute to pollution [6]. And most electricity is generated
by power plants using non-renewable fossil fuels like
coal, oil and natural gas. Most scientists agree th at this is
causing global warming. The electricity industry had
thereby become deeply enmeshed in most of the leading
environmental problems of concern to both Governments
and citizens. Almost all major forms of electricity gen-
erations-fossil fuel based, nuclear, large hydro, newer
renewable, as well as transmission have raised serious
environmental concern [7]. The environment is greatly
harmed by the process of power generation. This paper
evaluates the Environmental effect of power generation
with respect to Bangladesh.
2. Thermal Pollution
The most effective pollution in Bangladesh is thermal
pollution. Thermal Pollution occurs because of the ther-
mal power plants, nuclear power plants, fossil fuel like
coal, natural gas, oil etc. A large number of heats are
rejected to the environment every day from these power
plants. Degradation of water quality by any process that
changes water temperature is Thermal pollution. A
common cause of thermal pollution in Bangladesh is the
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. EPE
use of water as a coolant by power plants. When water
used as a coolant is returned to the natural environment
at a higher temperature, the change in temperature de-
creases oxygen supply, and affects ecosystem composi-
tion. If the temperature of water is largely increased then
it can denature the life-supporting enzymes by breaking
down hydrogen and disulphide bonds within the quater-
nary structure of the enzymes. Sometime this water as
coolant can be taken from natural or artificial resources.
Now when a power plant first opens or shuts down for
repair or other causes, fish and other organisms in those
water resources adapted to particular temperature range
can be killed by the abrupt change in water temperature
known as “thermal shock”. This thermal shock causes
every year lots of fishes die. Since most of the thermal
power plants are situated besides the main rivers of Ban-
gladesh. Again, Releases of unnaturally cold water from
artificial resources can dramatically change the fish and
macro invertebrate fauna of rivers, and reduce river pro-
ductivity. Also, due to the sudden fall of water tempera-
ture the contraction on dam and bridge pylon may take
place which may cause harmful effect in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has only one coal power station. Coals
have an adverse effect on the environment. It generates
hundreds of millions of tons of waste products, including
fly ash, bottom ash, and flue gas desulphurization sludge.
This waste disposal is a great burden for Bangladesh.
Coal interferes with groundwater and water table levels
and impact of water use on flows of rivers and conse-
quential impact on other land-uses. Also release of car-
bon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, which causes climate
change and global warming and Bangladesh is being
adversely affected by this global warming.
Pollution of air in Bangladesh is the most significant
environmental pollution. Air pollution from coal-fired
power plants is huge and contributes to a negative envi-
ronmental and health effects. When coal is burned to
generate electricity, the combustion releases a combina-
tion of toxic chemicals into the environment. Its combus-
tion releases nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, particulate
matter (PM), mercury, and dozens of other substances
known to be hazardous to environment. Carbon dioxide
is a big component of air pollution. It is responsible for
Global warming. The dangers of global warming include
disruption of Bangladesh weather patterns and ecosys-
tems, flooding, severe storms, and droughts. A warming
climate will also extend the range of infectious diseases.
That is why people living besides power stations are af-
fected mostly.
3. Prepare Your Paper before Styling
Bangladesh is not familiarized with acid rain. But for
future environmental effect it is also considerable. Acid
rain is a broad term used to describe several ways that
acids fall out of the atmosphere. It represents mixing of
environmental pollutants with the rain water. The mixing
raises the acidity of rain water by formations of acids
following chemical reactions involving pollutant gases
and water. The major pollutants that cause acid rain are
sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) produced
during the combustion of fossil fuels. When these gases
are released into atmosphere after the combustion of fos-
sil fuels, these gases accumulates in the atmosphere. Af-
ter that the chemical reaction starts between the gases
and the water vapor s. The oxidatio n of the gases converts
sulfur dioxide (SO2) into sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and ni-
trogen oxides (NOx) to nitric acid (HNO3). When rain
falls, these dissolved deposits are returned back to earth’s
surface in the form of acid rain. Most of these gases are
released into atmosphere by the electrical utilities during
combustion of coal. Electrical utilities contribute about
70% of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and 30% of nitrogen oxides
(NOx).The acidity of the acid rain is measured by its pH.
pH value is represented by a scale of 1-14. The lesser the
pH value is, more acidic is the water. PH value 7 repre-
sents neutral solution i.e. neither acidic nor base. The pH
of the non polluted rain lies between 5-5.6. The reason
being the natural processes also emit these pollutant
gases into the atmosphere. The pH of the acid rain may
fall to 4.0 or even less depending on the intensity of pol-
Already Banglad esh has only 10% of the forest. But at
least 25% forest is required for any country. So from that
view at present Bangladesh is really in trouble. Though
there is yet not occurred acid rain in Bangladesh but acid
rain may cause serious threat to forests. The pollutants
get deposited on the surface of the plants and interfere
with photosynthesis. This abruptly causes death of the
plants. Acid deposition due to rainfall has the potential to
affect sensitive forests. The other devastating effect of
acidic deposition in the water bodies is the declining bio-
diversity in the lakes and ponds. Many marine species
that are part of food chain can not survive below pH val-
ue of 6. This further affects the other members of the
food chain and the food chain is destroyed. As acidic
water flows over and through the ground, it affects a va-
riety of plants and animals. In addition, acid rain acceler-
ates the decay of building materials and paints, including
irreplaceable buildings, statues, and sculptures that are
part of our nation's cultural heritage. Prior to falling to
the earth, SO2 and NOx gases and their particulate matter
derivatives, sulfates and nitrates, contribute to visibility
degradation and harm public health.
4. Renewable Energy
In order to combat global warming and the other prob-
lems associated with the fossils fuels we are switching to
renewable energies. Though Renewable energies are
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. EPE
I. Z. ARNAB ET AL. 1523
clean compared to the other forms of fuel, but it also ef-
fects the environment.
In Bangladesh, the renewable energy sector mainly
consists of solar, wind and biomass energies. There are
also some other sources like Hydroelectric, wind, wave,
tidal, geothermal energy etc.
In case of solar e nerg y an nually about 1.9MWh energy
is received per square meter of horizontal area in Bang-
ladesh. But no air pollution during operation, the primary
environmental, health, and safety issues involve how
they are manufactured, installed, and ultimately disposed
of. One of the concern is energy is required to manufac-
ture and install solar components, and any fossil fuels
used for this purpo se will gene rate emissions and have an
effect on environment. Beside large amount of land is
needed for solar panels and in case of rainy season they
will be useless. So lands are b eing wasted. Besides, solar
panels generate large amount of heat. It effects the sur-
rounding environment.
Wind energy is perhaps the cleanest form of energy.
But it has also sum drawbacks. In Bangladesh Wind en-
ergy are being used in coastal areas. But the concerns
over wind energy are the noise being created by wind
turbine. There are claims that this system does not offer
adequate safeguard. If the blades of wind turbine get cut
of it can harm the surrounding areas. Bird dies due to the
collision with blades of the turbine. To build structures
large number of trees get cut off.
In Bangladesh only 230 MW of hydropower is utilized .
This comes from Karnafuli Hydro Station. Hydropower
got negative environmental effect compared to other en-
ergy sources. The original Rangamati town, including the
palace of the king, went into the lake created by the dam.
Apart from uprooting thousands of people, the Kaptai
project has also created other adverse impacts, such as:
loss of forest resources (a staggering 75 kilometers of
reserve forest area and another 600 square kilometers of
unclassified forest areas went into the lake), decline in
wildlife and cattle, scarcity of drinking water. Now,
threatened by the silting up of Kaptai Lake due to depo-
sition of soil from the surrounding hilly areas from mas-
sive deforestation and jhum cultivation (means paddy
cultivation on the hill area). The lak e is losing its naviga-
bility and water discharging capacity, as the silt depos-
ited in the riverbed has not been removed since the be-
ginning. On the other hand, the lake overflows its banks
during the rainy season creating a flood like situation.
These are some common but costly situation of hydro-
power that harms the surrounding environment greatly.
Bangladesh has very small scale biomass power plant.
It derived from the burning of plant matter, raises more
serious environmental issues than any other renewable
resource except hydr opower. Combustion of biomass and
biomass-derived fuels produces air pollu tion; beyond this,
there are concerns about the impacts of using land to
grow energy crops. Emissions from conventional bio-
mass-fueled power plants are generally similar to emis-
sions from coal-fired power plants. So the effect it has on
air is very adverse. Similar to coal fired plants it pollutes
air and also aids to the global warming. Since a large
amount of land is needed food production is minimized.
A country like Bangladesh cannot afford to lo se land like
this. The burning of plant matter and other toxic chemi-
cal released from the stations effects surrounding envi-
ronment. So for establishing large scale biomass power
plant government should consider the possible future
environmental effect.
Though Bangladesh is still now not going to geother-
mal power plant, but environmental concerns must be
taken for future geothermal power plant. In case of geo-
thermal energy resource types differ in many respects,
but they raise a common set of environmental issues. Air
and water pollution are two leading concerns, along with
the safe disposal of hazardous waste, sitting, and land
subsidence. The method used to convert geothermal
steam or hot water to electricity directly affects the
amount of waste generated. Open-loop systems can gen-
erate large amounts of solid wastes as well as noxious
fumes. Metals, minerals, and gases leach out into the
geothermal steam or hot water as it passes through the
rocks. The large amounts of chemicals released when
geothermal fields are tapped for commercial production
can be hazardous or objectionable to people living and
working nearby. Scrubbers reduce air emissions but pro-
duce a watery sludge high in sulfur and vanadium, a
heavy metal that can be toxic in high concentrations.
Tidal and wave energy is also not available in Bang-
ladesh. But this type of energy is knocking the future
energy resources as Bangladesh has sufficient tidal
height (7-8 m) in some areas. But this type of power
plant has also some environmental problem. Tidal energy
is a clean source of energy. But the construction of large
dams to harness tidal energy causes ecological problems
for the marine life. Also there is a chance of soil loses.
Wave energy can be used to reduce harmful greenhouse
effect. But the main negative impacts are visual intrusion
and noise from air turbines. Near shore and offshore
plants may constitute obstacles to coastal marine traffic
and, when deployed in large numbers may promote mod-
ifications to coastal dynamics. Thus, wave energy de-
vices situated offshore can have some impact on naviga-
tion. Other impacts, namely on ecosystems, on fishing
and on recreation and tourism may occur.
5. Possible Future Environ mental Eff ect of
Nuclear Power Plant
Nuclear energy is a great source for electricity generation.
Its mechanism is clean compared to the other fuels. Gov-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. EPE
ernment of Bangladesh had decided to implement the
Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant Project. If installed its
capacity will be around 400 to 600 Megawatt (MW).
Though nuclear energy is clean compared to other fuels,
but it still got widespread adverse effect on the environ-
The first fact to note is that operating a nuclear power
plant is quite different from the operation of any other
kind of power generating plant, and for that matter, any
other kind of industrial facility. This is because of the
devastating consequences the population may face if an
accident occurs during the operation of a plant.
Before elaborating this point, it is necessary to de-
scribe, in brief, some special aspects of a nuclear power
plant. A nuclear power plant uses turbines to generate
electricity. These turbines are driven by steam or heated
gas. In this respect, nuclear power plants are very similar
to most of the other power plants. Where it differs from
them is how the steam or heated gas is produced to turn
the turbines. Typically, in a nuclear power plant, water or
gas is heated by the heat energy produced by the fission
reaction of radioactive uran ium inside a container known
as a reactor. A fission reaction is similar in kind to that
taking place in an atomic bomb except that the rate of
reaction is carefully controlled to avoid any explosive
reaction. Since the material inside the reactor vessel is
highly radioactive, it is abso lutely necessary to contain it
within a sealed system so that minimum radioactivity
escapes outside. This is done by using very thick steel
plates (10 to 12 inches) to construct the reactor vessel.
This vessel acts as the primary containment for the ra-
dioactive material. Then, a thick concrete outer building
(typically with 2 ft. to 4 ft. thick walls) is built to house
the reactor. This building is also sealed from the outside
and provides a secondary containment in case radioactive
material escapes from the primary containment. There
are miles and miles of pipes, many of which are used in
back-up safety systems of the plant. Many of these may
also carry radioactive fluids. There are hundreds of
valves, pumps, compressors, electric motors etc. in the
plant. Once a nuclear power plant is activated, several
areas are sealed off, and human access to these areas is
limited because of high levels of radioactivity. Remote
controlled devices and cranes are used to transport ra-
dioactive material to these areas. Any malfunctioning of
electro-mechanical systems, operating these remote con-
trolled devices, can lead to very complex problems. Fur-
thermore, the extensive network of pipes may spring
leaks, valves and pumps may malfunction, electric cables
in non-accessible highly radioactive areas may cause
short circuits, battery packs, electric motors, and diesel
generators may break down. Technically simple devices,
such as pressure gauges and other indicator dials may not
show proper reading due to hydraulic malfunctioning as
has been known to happen. Mis-reading of data by plant
operators may lead to wrong remedial measures causing
possible disasters. In fact, nuclear power plants have so
many complex sub-systems that many combinations of
malfunctioning are possible, leading to serious accidents.
A major problem, in operating a nuclear plant, is the
disposal and storage of the radioactive waste material
produced by the plant. Around 20–30 tons of high-level
wastes are produced per month per nuclear reactor. Sev-
eral methods have been suggested for final disposal of
high-level waste, including deep burial in stable geo-
logical structures, transmutation, and removal to space.
So far, none of these methods have bee n implemented.
The main problem of nuclear plants is release of ra-
dioactivity. This is a serious concern for environment. It
includes deterioration of radioactive waste containers due
to radioactive and thermal effects and the consequential
leakage and contamination of groundwa t e r.
It is not required to rely on imagination to visualize the
consequences of nuclear power plant accidents since
such accidents have occurred in the recent past.
In March 2011 an earthquake and tsunami caused
damage that led to explosions and partial meltdowns at
the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. Radiation
levels at the stricken Fukushima I power plant have var-
ied spiking up to 1,000 mSv/h (millisievert per hour),
which is a level that can cause radiation sickness to occur
at a later time following a one hour exposure. Significan t
release in emissions of radioactive particles took place
following hydrogen explosions at three reactors, as tech-
nicians tried to pump in seawater to keep the uranium
fuel rods cool, and bled radioactive gas from the reactors
in order to make room for the seawater. Concerns about
the possibility of a large scale radiation leak resulted
in 20 km exclusion zone being set up around the power
plant and people within the 20-30 km zone being advised
to stay indoors.
The 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine was the
world's worst nuclear power plant accident. Estimates of
its death toll are controversial and range from 4,056 to
985,000. Large amounts of radioactive contamination
were spread across Europe, and cesium and strontium
contaminated many agricultural products, livestock and
soil. The accident necessitated the evacuation of 300,000
people from Kiev, rendering an area of land unusable to
humans for an indeterminate period. As radioactive ma-
terials decay, they release particles that can damage the
body and lead to cancer, particularly cesium-137 and
iodine-131. In the Chernobyl disaster, releases of ce-
sium-137 contaminated land. Some communities were
abandoned permanently. Thousands of people who drank
milk contaminated with radioactive iodine developed
thyroid cancer.
As it is seen that nuclear power plant can have nega-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. EPE
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. EPE
tive impact on the environment, Bangladesh needs to be
careful. Since most citizens of Bangladesh children,
women and men live within a 200-mile radius of the
proposed Rooppur nuclear power plant. The disastrous
effects of such proximal living to a nuclear plant are am-
ply demonstrated in the case of those people living near
Chernobyl. Any accident in the Rooppur power plant has
the potential to adversely impact the lives of every citi-
zen of Bangladesh and of future generations. So govern-
ment should reconsider the RNPP (Rooppur power plant)
Project and evaluate the project again for the future en-
vironmental effect.
6. Conclusions
Bangladesh is power hunger country. At present total
demand of power is 5500 Mw and total generation is
4200 Mw. So form the figure it is clear that it is essential
to generate more power and for power generation more
power stations is needed. But the considerable thing is
the environmental concern. Most of the time during a
power station project feasibility study of environment is
not properly justified. So emphasis must be given to that
and at the same time corruption must be controlled dur-
ing project evaluation. Bangladesh government is trying
to go through clean energy due its less effect of envi-
ronment. Though it is still in research stage, government
can not fulfill the recent energy crisis by clean energy. So
it is high time for Bangladesh government to meet the
recent energy crisis by environmental friendly power
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