Little headway in restoring Old Buriganga channel

Pace of the restoration project needs to be expedited

Published : 12 Mar 2023 08:04 PM

It is disconcerting to note that the restoration work of old Buriganga channel near Kamrangirchar has not seen any significant progress in the last eight months. Reportedly, the Dhaka South City Corporation began the project in June, 2022 but the initial works are yet to be completed. The project includes demarcation activities, eviction drives, re-excavation and waste disposal.

The old channel, which has lost its glory to pollution and encroachment, is located in the middle of Shahidnagar-Hazari bagh embankment (from the main Buriganga River) of Old Dhaka and Kamrangirchar. Various structures were built occupying the two sides of the area of about 7 kilometers. However, the DSCC took an initiative to reclaim the channel from encroachers in June last year. Almost a year has elapsed but the authorities are still working on the initial phase.

It is disheartening to note that the mighty river Buriganga, once addressed as the lifeline of Dhaka, is now on the verge of extinction due to unabated grabbing and pollution. Over the last couple of decades encroachment and excessive amounts of pollution has caused the water of Buriganga to become unusable and unsustainable for aquatic life. 

Thames River 

is a glaring example of how a 

dead river can be saved by 

implementing actions fuelled by

 consciousness and concerted efforts

Environmentalists have long been crying hoarse for devising measures to save the river Buriganga from pollution and grabbing. The water of Buriganga is now polluted to such an extent that all fishes have died and rowing across the river is now difficult because of its bad odour. It needs to be mentioned that thousands of illegal sewerage lines are emptying sewage into the river. On top of that, a huge amount of burnt petrol and human waste from river vessels is being spilled into the river every day.

Thames River is a glaring example of how a dead river can be saved by implementing actions fuelled by consciousness and concerted efforts. In 1957, The Natural History Museum declared the Thames River biologically dead. Now, Thames is one of the cleanest city rivers in the world. A concrete British consciousness and concerted efforts on the part of the London city administrators helped to revive the river. Hence, we still can be optimistic about giving Buriganga a new life.

It is time to stop the continuous discharge of thousands of tons of industrial waste, garbage, and sewage. The government should formulate and implement necessary policies and develop legal and strategic framework based on a new and reinvigorated perception on the present condition of the Buriganga. A strategic, holistic and sustainable waste management practice should be reinforced by the authorities concerned, factory owners and conscious citizens.