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balutikar canal in sylhet (bangladesh) has turned into a wasteland
Aivee Akther Bangladesh Environmental crime

Balutikar canal in Sylhet (Bangladesh) has turned into a wasteland

Balutikar canal in Sylhet (Bangladesh) has turned into a wasteland

Once upon a time, crystal clear streams would flow through Balutikar Canal, the only water source for three paddy lands in Khadimpara union of Sylhet Sadar upazila, Bangladesh.

The people of some nearby villages used to cook food, bathe and fish with the freshwater of the canal. Now, remember to carry out these works with canal water. It is impossible to pass by the canal due to waste. The dying canal has now turned into a wasteland.

The water of the canal is tar colored and has a bad smell. People are walking along the canal holding their noses. The victims alleged that this unfortunate situation has caused by the dumping of garbage and toxic chemical waste from Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) factories in Khadimnagar into the Balutikar Canal.

The victim claimed that if they take water from this canal and pour it on the land, the vegetables and paddy plants will die after a few days.

Afshar Ahmad, Chairman of Khadimpara Union Parishad, said, “The environmental pollution of BSCIC has reached beyond Khadimpara to the neighboring Golapganj upazila.

Not only Balutikar canal Surma river is also not spared from pollution. Cultivating Paddy and vegetables in the Khadimpara area is impossible now. The stench and mosquito infestation is beyond human tolerance.”

Residents informed that the river flowing down from the hilly areas of Khadim tea garden and Burjan tea garden in the suburbs of Sylhet got the name Nilbari river after flowing along Khadim BSCIC.

Later it flows through various districts, including Dashpara, Kallagram, and Balutikar of Khadimpara Union, and connects with Kushigang called Balutikar Canal. Moreover, Kushigang later joins the Surma river through Kushighat.

Abru Mia, a resident of Balutikar village, said, “Apart from this canal, there is no other system to dispose of BSCIC and chemical waste. All the garbage and chemical sands of BSCIC go to Kushigang through the canal. Since the last decade, the canal has been filled with garbage.

During the dry season, the stench of canal water permeates the air, making it difficult to travel on the road. Even staying in the neighboring houses becomes difficult because of the stench.

Balutikar canal water is the only source of Boro crop irrigation for the people of Daspara, Balutikar, Banshidhar, and Kallgram in the Khadimpara union. ‘’

Bachon Mia, a resident, said, “For seven to eight years, paddy plants turn red and die after two to three days of applying canal water to the land. Due to the contaminated water of the canal, the local Boro crops of Def, Eelam, and Patajuri Haor cannot be grown. Because of this, many farmers are giving up farming.”

Md. Afshar Ahmad, Chairman of Khadimpara Union Parishad. said, “I have sat with Shahjalal Science and Technology University waste management experts and BSCIC officials many times to solve this problem. But the BSCIC authorities are not paying attention to the issue.”

According to Khadimnagar BSCIC sources, production activities of 65 factories out of 74 factories of BSCIC are in operation. Out of these Effluent Treatment plants (ETP) is mandatory, there are 12 such factories. However, six of these factories do not have ETP.

Mohammad Emran Hossain, Director of Sylhet Divisional Office of the Department of Environment, said, “Most of the institutions which require ETP in Khadim BSCIC have ETP. Those who have not ETP urges to do so quickly.”

However, he needs to be made aware of the environmental pollution of the Balutikar canal. He said that he would find out and take action.

Mohammad Suhail Howladar, Acting Deputy General Manager of BSCIC, said, “The waste of Khadimnagar BSCIC is not only responsible for the water pollution of Balutikar Canal.

Apart from BSCIC, there are many industrial establishments and government-private offices in this area. All waste dumps into this canal. The local people also throw their household garbage into the canal.”

Regarding the ETP of factories, Suhail Howladar said, “Out of 12 establishments where ETP is mandatory, ETP has been done in 6 of them. The remaining six ETPs delaying due to a lack of space in the BSCIC area. However, they are constantly urging to establish ETP.”

Courtesy:  গ্রীন পেইজ Green Page (Bengali)

Translated by:


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