The story of the Buriganga is a tale not needed to explain to one, especially who is a resident of Dhaka. A picture published yesterday in the front page of this newspaper is a reminder that its condition has not changed much over time. Its worst condition is painful for the dwellers of the city and a blemish of all in the country.
The ever-insatiable land grabbers on both its banks continue to swallow the river and households and industries dump effluents and solid wastes into it. Restaurants, warehouses, factories, tea-stalls and many other business installations are set up within its area to make it narrower. Solid wastes dumped into it almost choke its flow through the narrow channel during the dry season. The flow of water drives away the filth to some other rivers during monsoon until the onset of next dry season.Buriganga which once was the lifeline of the city is now a cause of boredom and ill-health. Its stinky and pitch-black water continues to spread foul odour in the air. Residents in the neighbourhood of Buriganga are exposed to an extreme level of pollution of air and water. People who live near its banks often suffer from typical diseases caused by air and water pollution.
Also, like Buriganga other rivers around Dhaka and many across the country are facing the loss of navigability as a result of exacerbating encroachment and pollution threats. Their water is not safe for human and aquatic lives. But, all these things, including encroachment, dumping of wastes and effluents and other abuses continue to occur in full knowledge of those who are tasked to save rivers and water bodies in the country.
However, the authorities concerned alone cannot cope with the uphill task of saving rivers and water bodies across the country; it is the people who must be aware of maintaining a clean and healthy environment. They must realise the importance of rivers in their lives and livelihoods. Environment-conscious citizens can make Buriganga and other rivers free-from pollution with the help of the regulatory bodies of the government.