Although there are more than 500 hotels, motels and other residential establishments in Cox’s Bazar, only four of these have their own Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP), which is turning the tourist city into an open gutter.
According to Abu Sufian, an Additional District Magistrate who is also the In-charge of the district administration’s tourist cell, only three five-star and one three-star hotels in Cox’s Bazar have STP systems.
Saiful Islam, Assistant Director of Department of Environment in Cox’s Bazar, said that the government has asked more than 300 hotels to set up STP system regardless of the fact that most of these hotels don’t have space for STP.
“Most of the hotels adjacent to the beach have been constructed without following environmental laws, and bad smell coming out of the excrement released from these hotels is resulting in the loss of tourists. That’s why the district administration in association with Cox’s Bazar Development Authority, Cox’s Bazar municipality and Department of Environment have jointly agreed to establish a central STP system,” Saiful said.
Mohammad Junaid, General Secretary of Cox’s Bazar Forest and Environment Protection Council, said that the government should ensure that any new infrastructure in Cox’s Bazar is set up after receiving clearance from the environment department.
“Besides, the already constructed establishments must be refurbished to make way for STPs. Around one lakh tourists stay in Cox’s Bazar every day during the tourist season and excrement left by them accumulates in the toilet ring without any treatment. This excrement later falls in ditches, from where it goes to the Bakkhali river and ultimately to the sea. The government needs to take urgent steps to stop this cycle to prevent Cox’s Bazar from becoming an inhabitable city,” said Junaid.
Mohammad Nurul Absar, Chairman of Cox’s Bazar Development Authority, said that the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism has published a circular making STP system mandatory for hotels labeled three star or above.
Mohammad Shaheen Imran, Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Cox’s Bazar, said that from now on, infrastructure will be built in Cox’s Bazar following a master plan.
During the Prime Minister’s rally in Cox’s Bazar on December 7, Presidium Member of Awami League (AL) Engineer Mosharraf Hossain said that despite the massive development that the coastal district has gone through, the environment is at stake due to a lack of STP system.
“That’s why building the STP system has become urgent so that the tourists don’t turn away from visiting the seaside resort town,” Mosharraf added.