Asia’s River Water is Blackened Gradually
By Adnan Mahfuz
The water of the rivers of Asia, including Bangladesh, is continuously losing its color and turning black. The dye of the textile industry is mixing in the river water. This is causing a severe environmental disaster.
At the same time, there is a risk to public health. Journalist Helen Reagan wrote a lengthy report on the online CNN. He wrote about a person named Haji Muhammad Abdus Salam’s house in Savar near Dhaka. Savar is now the heart of the garment industry.
Haji Abdus Salam looked at the garbage-filled river near his home and recalled the time before the factory set up there.
“When I was young, there was no garment factory in Savar,” he said. We could grow crops in the field. I used to catch various kinds of fish in the river. The weather was excellent too.
But now the river that flows by its side is black. Abdus Salam said that dirt and dye came from the nearby garments and polluted the water. There are no more fish in it now. The water is so polluted that our children and grandchildren do not have the same experience as we did in the past.
Bangladesh is now the second-largest manufacturer of readymade garments after China. In 2019, goods worth 3.4 billion were exported from this sector. The garments that make dyed and finished here is in stores on major roads in the United States and Europe.
These fashions are responsible for one-fifth of the amount of water pollution in the industry. In this case, we have to thank the weakness of countries like Bangladesh’s rules and regulations. In these countries, contaminated water is discharged directly into rivers or canals.
This contaminated water occasionally contains harmful chemicals, dyes, salts, and heavy metals. It’s not harming the environment in the beginning. At the same time, it is contaminating the source of drinking water. The Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change of Bangladesh has said that it is trying to minimize the negative impact on the environment from the top export sectors, including readymade garments and textiles.
In an email to CNN, Minister Shahab Uddin said several measures had been taken to prevent pollution. This includes modernizing conservation and environmental laws, fine the polluters, monitoring water quality, and establishing Central Treatment Plant. Work is being done with international development partners to improve the wastewater treatment process.
Ridwanul Haque, Chief Executive of Dhaka-based NGO, described toxic chemical pollution as a massive problem for a country like Bangladesh. It is worth mentioning here that their NGO provides free drinking water and free health care to the marginalized communities of the country.
He said the rivers or canals flowing through Dhaka have turned pale. This is because it mixes textile dye and processing factory waste and sewerage waste. These waters are very dense and heavy. During the winter, it spreads a deadly stench.
A 55-year-old man has been living in Savar for 18 years. He did not want to be named for fear of retaliation. He says contaminated water is a health risk for his family.
If he stays there, the kids will get sick. So because of this water, her two children and grandchildren are not there with them.
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the fashion industry uses about 9.3 billion cubic meters of water every year. With this water, 37 million Olympic swimming pools can fill.
According to the United Nations, a pair of jeans requires about 7,500 liters of water. Jeans cloth repeatedly soaks until to ensure the blue color, in a large amount of dye. At the end of dyeing, it is washed with more chemicals to soften the fabric, and also, more chemicals are used in different processes.
These include various acids, enzymes, bleaching powders, formaldehyde. However, jeans alone are not responsible for environmental pollution. “Every year, we know that fashion factories are highlighting new colors,” said Ma Jun, one of China’s top environmentalists.
But every time you create a new color, you have to use new chemicals, dyes. The factories choose nearby rivers or canals as an easy way to get rid of modern chemical waste.
Not all chemicals used in this industry are harmful. However, the World Bank has identified 72 products in the sector as toxic. When this waste mixes with rivers or canals, sunlight prevents it from going underwater.
As a result, photosynthesis of plants at the bottom of rivers or canals hamper. As a result, the dissolved oxygen in the water decreases, and in its continuation, other animals, including plants and fish at the bottom of rivers or canals, die.
Also, chemicals and heavy metals mixed in the water accumulate in the human body, causing various cancers, severe diseases, and skin problems. This water uses to grow crops.
A recent study found the presence of textile dyes in vegetables and fruits produced in Savar. The situation is similar in India, the report said.
(This article originally published in CNN and Collected From Green Page)