Dhaka canals in death throes

Strategic planning required for saving the water bodies

It is worrying to note that at least 12 canals in the capital city of Dhaka are likely to vanish under the very nose of the authorities concerned. it is reported that influential quarters, land sharks and encroachers and encroachers in the name of different government and non-governmental organisations have built large infrastructures and even roads on canal sites. 

Due to rapid urbanisation with taking little care of unavoidable environmental and public health consequences, Dhaka has lost almost all of its water bodies over the years. 

Gone are the days when Dhaka had around 58 canals and lakes and wetlands and was surrounded by four rivers. The major part of Dhaka’s drainage system consists of canals, rivers and lakes that help reroute extra water out of the city. Over the years, Dhaka has lost almost all of it. Now, only 26 canals exist in reality in a moribund condition while most of them are under threat of being grabbed amid the unabated dumping of solid waste as reported by this daily on Wednesday.

Stern steps should be taken to free the 

canals from illegal occupation and stop 

dumping of garbage in them

Experts are of the opinion that the main reasons behind disappearing of canals are illegal grabbing by influential quarters, creep of construction and dumping of massive quantities of garbage from the surrounding neighbourhoods.

It is high time that the government takes a serious approach to save the canals and wetlands in the capital from encroachment. We have made mistakes in the way we treated our water-bodies so far. Let us not continue to make those mistakes in future.

What is desired now is a concerted and well-deployed move fuelled by adequate allocation of resources to save the waterbodies. Appropriate legal actions against land grabbers are a must for recovering the occupied land and water bodies. Also the city corporations and the WASA need to collaborate and devise a master plan to reclaim the canals. A new law should also be enacted to take stern punitive actions against the land grabbers. Practice of wastage dumping in canals, lakes and rivers should be stopped. Besides, steps should be taken so that new installation could not take place filling canals. Water bodies of the capital should be recovered for ensuring natural balance and protecting environment keeping pace with development and urbanisation.