The Buriganga and the Turag rivers:
An Eviction Drive on the One Hand While on the Other Hand, the Massive Arrangement of Filling the River with Waste is going on
By Zeba Tarannum
Once upon a time, there were big steamers and launches on the original channel of the Buriganga. Now it has turned into a garbage dump. Dirt is dumping on both sides of the river. Meanwhile, the river is already closed in the Loharpool section.
Not only the original Buriganga, but the main channel of the river and more than three hundred and fifty places on both sides of the Turag river is filling with dirt. In many places, seven- to eight-foot-tall trees have grown in waste dumps within 40 feet of the river.
On the instructions of the Prime Minister, on the one hand, illegal eviction campaigns are being carried out to save the rivers of the country; on the other hand, a grand arrangement is making to fill the rivers by dumping waste.
As soon as you enter the main channel of Buriganga from the main river towards Loharpul, you get a strong smell of rotten water. As soon as you enter the main channel of Buriganga from the main river towards Loharpul, you get a strong smell of rotten water. At the moment, the color of blue water changes to black.
Similarly, at Islambagh, the opposite side of Kamrangirchar, at least half a kilometer of the river has filled with waste. Due to long-term waste disposal, At least 40 feet from the river boundary, various trees have grown in the waste dump inside the river.
Some trees are seven to eight feet tall. Different metal waste-collecting shops have been set up in a place filled with garbage. The situation is similar in Kamrangirchar on the opposite side. As a result, the channel has become narrower.
From the mouth of the channel to Loharpool, there is such garbage disposal on both sides of the river. The river has closed after Loharpool. And these wastes have fallen into the river and poisoned the river water. The color of the water has become black like tar.
The living environment on both shores has become polluted. Besides, piles of garbage have been seen in the river in Kalunagar, Kalunghat, Hazaribagh, and Hasnabad. Going to the Jinjira end of the main channel, one can see garbage dumping along the riverbank in the whole Jinjira area, including Rasulbagh.
CC block of river protection is covered. Talking to the riverbank residents, some of them said that everyone throws in the river as there is no waste disposal system. Again, some say, the dirt is filled first. Then the influential local people set up various shops there and rented them out.
At times big buildings were erected.
Sona Bali Sardar of Madaripur has been sailing boat in the Buriganga for more than 25 years. He said I had raised six children by sailing boat on this river. I saw the original Buriganga die before my eyes.
Even a decade ago, this river passed through Kamrangirchar, Hazaribagh, Basila near Aminbazar and was again connected with the main Buriganga. Savar could be reached through this river.
Houses and shops have been built by dumping waste and closing the mouth of the river. Due to the smell of water, I don’t feel like boating anymore.
Meanwhile, visiting the Sinnirtech area of the Mirpur embankment section of the Turag River, the huge area is now a temporary dumping station for the Dhaka North City Corporation.
The boundary wall of the river is overflowing with piles of dirt. In addition to the pollution of the river, the locals are in extreme distress due to this. The city corporation says it has no alternative at the moment.
Two waste disposals were found in the Barabazar area. If you continue along the banks of the Turag, you will not see frequent piles of waste like the Buriganga, but you can see a different picture by going to the Tongi canal. The channel has been filled with waste on both sides.
Meanwhile, after conducting field surveys, analyzing GPS maps and satellite images, the survey company River and Delta Research Center found 237 waste disposal in Buriganga and 131 in the Turag river (including Tongi canal) in November-December last year.
Mohammad Ejaz, chairman of the company, told Bangladesh Pratidin that the first step in capturing the river was to dispose of the waste. Then there were small shops, then buildings and factories. We regularly visit the river as part of the work. At present, the number of waste disposal may increase, not decrease.
Meanwhile, in addition to evicting illegal structures in Dhaka, projects have been taken to excavate rivers, remove waste, install boundary pillars, and build walkways.
In the six months from January 29 to July 24 last year, the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) cleared 4,772 illegal structures on the banks of three rivers in Dhaka and cleared 121 acres of land. After being re-occupied, the company went on the operation this month.
However, the rivers are not yet free from waste. AKM Arifuddin, in-charge of Dhaka river port and joint director of BIWTA, told Bangladesh Pratidin that waste had become a big problem for us as well. People are dumping waste on the river banks due to poor waste management of the city corporation.
When after it is cleaning up, again filling up with waste. River dredging is also a problem due to debris. However, the eviction of illegal installations is 90 percent complete. Now the work of increasing the depth and width of the river by excavation is going on.
Occasionally there are campaigns to prevent recapture. He said the main Buriganga was not under BIWTA, adding that the Prime Minister had special instructions to protect the river. However, the river is under the district administration. If it were in our hands, we would have tried. Dhaka South City Corporation wanted to rescue the river.
Sharif Jamil, general secretary of the Bangladesh Environment Movement (BAPA), told this correspondent that whatever is on the other side of the embankment is the river’s place. A project has been taken to convert the original Buriganga into a channel like Hatirjheel.
This will give legitimacy to hundreds of illegal possessions. They want to turn the original Buriganga into a lake. Now, the river cannot be separated from the floodplain, occupiers are being given legitimacy in the name of river rescue. We have errors in waste management.
They have turned the rivers around Dhaka, including the Buriganga, into waste drains. The city corporation itself dumps waste on the banks of the river. Factory waste is also there. On de-pollution of the river, he said, the court’s verdict has to be appropriately obeyed.
The boundaries of the river must be properly marked. Flood areas need to be specified. The occupants of the river must be evicted, and conservation measures are taken.
Otherwise, the river will lose its structure permanently. The river will turn into a drain.
Meanwhile, the High Court warned WASA MD Taksim A Khan on September 14 not to implement the High Court’s verdict to stop water pollution in the Buriganga River and directed him to submit a report to the court within a month.
Source: Bangladesh Pratidin