Twenty-six canals of Dhaka City dying of Occupancy-pollution-filling-waste due to 31 years of negligence
Bangladesh: At present, 26 canals of the capital, Dhaka, is almost dead due to occupancy, pollution, filling, waste, and sewage water. As a result, when it rains a little, the roads and alleys of the capital Dhaka are flooded with sewage wastewater.
However, in 1989, the Dhaka Water Supply And Sewerage Authority (WASA) took over sewerage management’s responsibility. One of the duties of sewerage management is to protect the city dwellers from waterlogging by keeping the drainage normal.
Water is drained through the canals of the city. But since 1989, Dhaka WASA has not taken any initiative to protect the canals even in these 31 years.
However, although Dhaka WASA has been given this responsibility, a large part of the city’s sewage management is mainly the responsibility of Dhaka’s two city corporations. Earlier, two city mayors from Dhaka have expressed interest in supervising WASA’s canal several times.
WASA’s Managing Director and the Mayors of the two city corporations have a meeting with the Minister, Ministry of Local Government, on Sunday (October 11, 2020) to decide on the matter.
According to a recent survey by the River and Delta Research Center (RDRC), 7 of the 26 canals in Dhaka are directly connected to the rivers. These include Abdullahpur Canal, Begunbari Canal, Dwigun Canal, Hazaribagh Canal, Jirani Canal, Kalyanpur Canal, and Manda Canal.
Rupnagar canal, Shahjadpur canal, and Sutibhola canal, these three canals are directly connected with the reservoirs. The remaining 16 canals are connected with those ten canals. However, Dhaka WASA’s information about the canal does not match reality.
According to the information of RDRC, it is also known that the Water Development Board has a sluice gate at Kamarpara Mouza in Sector 10 of Uttara of Abdullahpur canal. Besides, the illegal walls of the building and mosques have been built over the canal.
Although it was supposed to be connected to the Diabari canal, it is currently disconnected. Also, its flow has been obstructed by the construction of small bridges and culverts. According to the WASA document, the current length of the 7,600-meter canal is stood at 6,521 meters.
The Begunbari canal starts from Ramna culvert and flows into the Balu River through the Meradia area. Although the canal’s pollution is less, it is 200 meters less than the length given by WASA.
There is also a sluice gate over the Dwigun canal. At present, RAJUK has occupied 700 meters of the canal. However, the canal flow is running in an alternative way. The length of the canal is supposed to be 4,570 meters but now exist 3,802 meters.
The length of the Rupnagar canal connected with the Turag River is about 400 meters less than the record. Illegal pipelines have been laid in the canal. There is no flow.
There are floating and temporary markets around the Hazaribagh canal directly connected to the river Buriganga. As a result, the flow of waste is being obstructed.
The length of the Jirani canal, which is directly connected to the Narai River, is 4,450 meters. But at present, it stood at 2,960 meters. There are illegal markets on the canal in the Nandipara area, and the canal is polluted with waste.
There are six canals in Kalyanpur. On the east side of the central canal of Kalyanpur, it is crammed with water hyacinth and foul-smelling waste. Various companies and individuals have taken the place of the canal and set up houses and markets.
Starting from the mouth of four canals of Madinabagh and Mugda’s, the Manda canal falls directly into the river Shitalakha. A horizontal road has been constructed over the canal for commuting to the adjacent Shapla Housing.
Dhaka South City Corporation’s waste disposal has been constructed near Green Model Town. According to the information of WASA, the length of the canal is 6,350 meters. At present, it stood at 3,717 meters.
On the other hand, arrangements have been made to construct a road and a cemetery for the Christian community by filling the Katasur Canal of its plot No. 213 and No. 669.
Illegal truck stands have been built by filling this canal. The water in the canal is highly polluted due to a lack of navigability. The length of this canal is 378 meters less than the information given by WASA.
Clean-up activities have been started at the initiative of Dhaka North City Corporation to restore the flow of the Baishteki canal, which has been eroded due to pollution. The canal caused severe waterlogging in the surrounding area.
The Dwigun canal flowing from Mirpur-14 through Sagufta Housing via Kalshi Bridge has been linked with the Baunia canal. Although the canal’s flow is active, experts fear that the nearby housing companies may occupy the canal.
Apart from this, the Devdholai canal starts from Kajlarpar on the Dhaka-Demra highway and falls into the Manda canal. The District Council has built a road in about one kilometer on the bank of the canal.
Dhaka South City Corporation is also constructing a road. As a result, the canal has become too narrow. There are also illegal installations in the canal.
The Ibrahimpur canal starts from the old airport wall and ends at the Ibrahimpur Pulpar in Mirpur. The canal became closed by dumping waste directly into the canal from the market and houses alongside the canal.
The Khilgaon Basabo Canal extends from Khilgaon Tilpapara to the mouth of the four canals at Madinabagh. There is a floating market next to the canal. And household waste is dumped in the canal.
As a result, there is no flow in the canal. Here too, the length is 50 meters shorter than the information given by WASA.
Starting from Mohammadi Housing Road No. 5, crossing Mohammadpur Adabar Road No. 16 Ramchandrapur Canal ends at Kalyanpur Main Canal. Muktijoddha Kalyan Samiti’s slums and city corporation roads have been built by occupying the canal’s place.
Apart from this, Zaker Dairy Farm and a private university connected road have been constructed at the mouth of Katasur and Ramchandrapur canals. According to WASA’s information, the length of the canal is 2,940 meters, but at present, it is 2,131 meters.
The length of the Journalist Colony Canal, which starts from Kalshi Road of Mirpur-11 and joins the Baishteki canal, is 1500 meters. But at present, it stood 983 meters in length. Occupiers have occupied many places on the canal.
The waste of markets and houses has destroyed the Segunbagicha canal. The flow of this canal is closed throughout the year.
There is a floating and temporary market on the Shahjadpur canal. Besides, household waste is dumped in the canal. However, the Sutibhola canal is still active. There is no occupant in this canal at present. However, waste is left in the canal in the Satarkul area.
Claiming that there was no issue of ‘sewage management’ in the WASA Act, Taksim A Khan, Dhaka WASA Managing Director, said, “We will abide by the decision taken by the government in this regard.”
Mohammad Azaz, chairman, RDRC said, “If the canals in Dhaka are not made operational permanently, there will be no solution to waterlogging. The government should pay attention to this.”