Wednesday, January 29, 2020 | ePaper

Save Buriganga to save Dhaka dwellers: Court can’t

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THE High Court has directed the Department of Environment (DoE) and Dhaka WASA to take effective steps to stop polluting Buriganga River. On Sunday, the HC asked the DoE to shut down all illegal industries, factories, and organisations on the Buriganga which are polluting the river. At the same time, the court ordered Dhaka WASA to properly implement its undertaking about sealing off drains and sewerage lines connected to the river. The government fails to regain the river sustainably due to political backup of the polluters and illegal settlers on the bank.
Earlier, the DoE submitted a report that said 52 fabric washing plants without any environmental clearance certificate (ECC) and effluent treatment plant (ETP) were illegally operating on the south shore of the river, polluting its water and the environment. In the compliance report, the DoE mentioned that it closed 27 such factories and industries in 2017, and 18 factories and industries this year as they were polluting the river. Besides, there are 67 underground drains and sewerage lines connected to the Buriganga that pollute the river with human waste and sewerage.  The court directed WASA to seal off all sewerage disposal lines in 2011, but it had to pass further order to implement its 2011 directive.    
Along the Buriganga, millions of people are exposed to the noxious air. City dwellers' lives are sluggish and dreary due to the river pollution. The pollutants have eaten up all oxygen of the Buriganga and we call it biologically dead, like a septic tank. Chemicals such as cadmium and chromium, and other elements such as mercury carried by the industrial waste are also creeping into the ground water posing a serious threat to public health. If the pollution is not controlled, we will face a serious health crisis in the years to come. We want the rivers fully dredged, their illegal occupation must be ended and the laws should strictly be enforced to prevent abuse of this valuable water body of the capital.

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