POST TIME: 22 May, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Dredging of three rivers

Dredging of three rivers

That the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources Ministry on Sunday recommended quick dredging of Buriganga, Shitalakhya and Turag Rivers on priority basis is a good piece of news. The recommendations were made at the 36th meeting of the committee, held at Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban. Rivers are the lifeline of a country and they are responsible for sound environment, bio-diversity and ecological balance. They play vital roles in economic development of the country as livelihood of millions of people is dependent on them. Rivers are the repositories of fish that provide proteins for the vast population of the country. Besides, rivers play important roles in irrigating lands.   

   What is worrying is that many rivers of our country have lost navigability. Many rivers have choked up due to human interventions while many rivers are mere shadows of their former self. Against this dismal scenario the initiative for dredging the rivers has come as a relief. Through dredging navigability of a river can be restored. But the slothful dredging activities will not do. The concerned officials should expedite the dredging work.        

  Another disturbing reality is that many rivers have been grabbed by land shirks. Reclamation of these rivers is of prime importance. But it is unfortunate to note that crores of taka had been allegedly misused in such river dredging activities. In the past the river dredging work was started with much fanfare only to be suspended on various pretexts. Proper monitoring, supervision, accountability and transparency in the dredging works should be ensured.  

River pollution is another menace that is wreaking havoc. Industrial waste, household garbage and the refuse of ships are being dumped directly into rivers, which are accelerating their pollution. It is extremely worrying to note that the waters of the Buriganga and Sitalakhya rivers have been polluted beyond recognition. There was a time when the waters of these rivers were crystal clear. Fishermen would catch various kinds of fishes from these rivers. Who are responsible for the pollution of the waters of these rivers? The disaster is completely man-made. Unplanned urbanization is partly to blame for this menace. But even dredging alone will not free the Buriganga, Sitalakhya  and other rivers  from the scourge of pollution unless the industrial wastes now  released freely  by the industrial units located in the rivers’ banks  is not  checked. Scores of industrial units are dumping toxic and hazardous effluents into the rivers everyday. It must be checked otherwise the entire exercise will be futile.