Int’l Day of Action for Rivers observed

Save the rivers from pollution and encroachment

Published : 15 Mar 2023 08:19 PM

Green activists have called upon all sections of people to raise voices against pollution and encroachment of rivers across the country. They said that everyone should come forward to save the rivers from the pollution and encroachment. Green activists made the call and observation at different programmes held in Dhaka and some other parts of the country on Tuesday (March 14) on the occasion of the International Day of Action for Rivers-2023.

Most of the country’s rivers have been illegally occupied by influential people and numerous institutions, destroying the entire ecological balance and natural beauty. More than a hundred rivers have already died since independence.  It is disconcerting to note that authorities concerned still have not been able to control the dumping of industrial effluents, domestic sewage, clinical wastes and solid wastes into rivers surrounding the capital. 

Environmentalists have long been crying hoarse for devising intervention on the part of the government to save the rivers in and around the capital. Earlier in 2019, the High Court issued a 17-point directive to  save the country’s rivers and water-bodies. Also, the Prime Minister herself has repeatedly directed the ministries to take necessary measures to save our rivers. Yet, our rivers continue to turn into drains.

We have made mistakes

 in the way we treated 

our rivers so far

Murky water of the rivers surrounding capital Dhaka spreads foul odour all the time as untreated industrial effluent, urban wastewater, agro-chemicals, sewage water and solid waste are being dumped in the rivers. Six rivers – the Buriganga, Sitalakhya, Bangshi, Turag, Balu, and Dhaleshawri – flowing around Dhaka are currently known as the “biologically dead rivers.” We have come to know that these are being polluted from more than 300 drains connected with these rivers. Reportedly, at least 3.5 lakh kilograms of liquid waste and solid garbage are being mixed with river water every day through these drains

It is time to take a holistic and unbiased approach to save the rivers across the country from encroachment. We have made mistakes in the way we treated our rivers 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 our rivers. Practice of wastage dumping into the rivers should be stopped. Besides, steps should be taken so that new installations could not be built filling rivers. Water bodies of the country should be recovered for ensuring natural balance and protecting environment keeping pace with development and urbanisation.