The lead news in yesterday’s daily sun about the appalling condition of Hatirjheel should alert both city officials and the residents. Dhaka is a beautiful but ill-maintained city. Population in Dhaka city is increasing rapidly, and soon it will be difficult to manage the city’s garbage and sewage disposal system without rethinking and redesigning these vital city cleaning services.
How could we allow Hatirjheel to gradually turn into a stinking sewage canal from a serene and clear water body surrounded by beautiful greenery? It is time to acknowledge that we need to learn and implement city hygiene and cleanliness maintenance on an emergency basis. Penalties for polluting the lake with wastage by the visitors must be implemented.It is shocking to read officials of Hatirjheel project blaming 13 sewerage lines around the lake for polluting the water of this once scenic lake. As the lake was created to offer a breathing space to the city people, therefore sewerage lines should never have been allowed to empty into it. Another purpose of Hatirjheel was to enable people to use it as a waterway to move around the city reducing pressure on the roads.
We expect people and the authorities of this megacity to be more responsible in taking care of Hatirjheel lake and other similar natural places like Gulshan lake, Baridhara lake, the parks and greeneries scattered around Dhaka that offer recreational facilities to city dwellers.
Senior citizens claim that once Dhaka had many lakes, ponds, canals, etc. which not only beautified, but also soothed the city’s air by keeping it cool. Most of the water bodies were basically killed by unrestricted and unplanned landfill to expand the city. There is a plan to revive some of the dead canals of Dhaka city to recreate a vibrant water way running through it similar to that of many renowned cities of the world. Laws should also be enacted to prevent future pollution of all the water bodies by diverting sewage or storm water drainage away from them.
But the success of all beautification needs the cooperation of the people to maintain the pristine quality of lakes and canals. Water is a vital resource which should be responsibly managed and maintained with care for the future generations. The beauty of Buriganga River and Hatirjheel should be restored through strict rectification.