The Environment and the Biodiversity of the River Kirtankhola is in Endangered due to Polythene-plastic and unperishable waste
By Adnan Mahfuz
Bangladesh News: Polythene-plastic and unperishable wastes are being dumped freely in various rivers in the south, including Kirtankhola in Barishal. In addition to water pollution, the environment and biodiversity of the river are already under threat. Now a new danger has arrived while excavating the Kirtankhola. The layer of polythene on the bottom has become so thick that excavation is being hampered.
In the southern region, the 40 km long Kirtankhola is the main means of naval communication. Besides, it has an important contribution to agriculture and the lives and livelihood of this region’s people. The major part of this river is around Barishal.
According to locals and some research reports, China, India, and Nepal produce large quantities of plastic waste. These wastes enter Bangladesh through Padma and Brahmaputra.
Most of it goes to the sea. Some parts remain in the rivers. Apart from this, the waste generated in the country is also being entered into the rivers.
Every day various wastes, including polythene and plastic, are being dumped in the Kirtankhola river. Besides, the wastewater of Barishal city is flowing into the Kirtankhola river through various canals of the city.
Huge amounts of waste are being dumped on the banks or chars of the river, mixed with water at high tide. One of the country’s river port is situated in Barishal.
More than 50 small and big passenger launches daily travel inland and long distances through river ports. Waste from these launches is being dumped directly into the river.
A large number of people are engaged in floating business around the Barishal river port area, and the number of floating businesses is increasing. As a result, the area adjacent to the pontoon has the highest river pollution.
While vising, large quantities of polythene, plastic, and unperishable wastes were seen in heaps on the river banks at several places, including at the Barishal Launch Ghat, Bhatar khal, and DC Ghat. At high tide, these wastes easily flow into the river water.
Passengers and small traders who come to the river port are throwing polythene and water bottles, plastic items directly into the river. Besides, after anchoring the passenger launches, garbage is being swept into the river.
Mizanur Rahman Bhuiyan, Supervising Engineer, BIWTA, said, The machine has to be shut down and cleaned repeatedly as the waste got stuck. This has increased both time spent and expense.
The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) has taken the initiative to excavate at least 30 places in the southern waterways, including Dhaka and Barishal, due to fear of navigability crisis in the dry season.
The river is being excavated in the Kirtankhola from the 15th of October. The people involved in this work says an excavator can run for 10-12 hours in 24 hours. Earlier, they could dig for a maximum of 11 hours continuously in the Barishal river port area.
But now it is not possible to work for more than five-six hours while digging. There are more problems in digging in the area adjacent to the pontoon of the river port.
Mizanur Rahman Bhuiyan, the supervising engineer of BIWTA, said, as the polythene and plastic waste got stuck in the dredger cutter, the machine had to be shut down and cleaned repeatedly. This has increased both the time and cost of excavation.