The Buriganga River was once the lifeline of Dhaka, a mega city of about 16 million people, many of whom largely depend on its water for a living and transportation. But, it has now turned into a polluted river; its water is so polluted that all fish have died, and increasing filth and human waste have turned its water into black gel. Virtually, the river resembles a big septic tank. Sewage, chemical waste of mills and factories, household waste, medical waste, dead animals, plastics, and oil are some of its pollutants.
Among the top polluters are 68 underground drains and sewerage lines of Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA) that are connected to the river. Recently, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) submitted a compliance report to the High Court (HC) in this regard. Consequently, a division bench consisting of Justice Gobinda Chandra Tagore and Justice Mohammad Ullah passed an order on Tuesday asking the local government agency to close down the underground drains and sewerage lines.The HC order was passed after a hearing of a writ petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB) in 2010 that sought necessary orders to prevent pollution of the river.
The drains and sewerage lines have been polluting the Buriganga River, and the pollution must be stopped. Dhaka WASA is the concerned authority to control the 68 underground drains and sewerage lines, the higher court mentioned in its observation.
It is the responsibility of Dhaka WASA, Dhaka city corporations, the Department of Environment (DoE), BIWTA, BIWTC and related organisations to keep the river clean. Had they done their duties properly the High Court would not have to intervene. Coordinated efforts of all organisations are a must to resolve of the issue. Law enforcement agencies can help train and create awareness among the people. Not many days ago the Singapore River was also like our Buriganga. But they cleaned it up and have now turned it into a great resource.