Much to the delight of environmental activists, the High Court has ordered closure of 231 factories which have been found polluting Dhaka’s life line, the Buriganga river.
The court also directed the government to shut down the factories set up without effluent treatment plants and environmental clearance certificates.A division bench comprising Justice Gobinda Chandra Tagore and Justice Mohammad Ullah passed the order on Monday.
The apex court asked the Dhaka Electricity Supply Company, Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority and Titas Gas Distribution Company for disconnecting their lines from the factories.
It also asked the director general of Department of Environment (DoE) to submit a compliance report on February 20, the next day of hearing.
The deltaic country is criss-crossed by 700 rivers, including tributaries, but a recent industrial boom, including the emergence of the world’s second largest garment sector, has prompted officials to turn a blind eye to the industrial waste being dumped into rivers.
In a landmark decision hailed by environmental activists, the court Monday ordered the authorities to take immediate action against the 231 factories including dyeing, rubber plants and tanneries.
The DoE told the court that it identified 231 industries, including washing plants, textile and dying factories, plastic factories, furniture factories, metal factories, manufacturers of medical commodities, hair dye manufacturers and cosmetic factories, on the Buriganga riverbank in Sadarghat, Shyampur and Mirpur areas.The Department of Environment also informed the court that drives against the factories are likely to start after getting the schedule from its enforcement agencies.
The HC ordered the Dhaka deputy commissioner, the superintendent of police, district council chairman and the Keraniganj UNO and the Keraniganj OC to stop dumping household waste into Buriganga in Keraniganj and take action against violators.
The court order came following a supplementary writ petition filed by the Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB).
On June 1, 2011, the High Court following HRPB petitions issued a series of directives to stop dumping waste into Buriganga.
The HC bench directed the BIWTA chairman to cut off by January 7 all the illegal sewerage and drainage pipelines releasing waste into the river.
The court had directed WASA managing director to explain in 15 days why action would not be taken against him for submitting a false report in the court claiming that 930-km sewerage pipeline ‘dumps no human wastes in Buriganga or in the wetlands.’
WASA managing director was also directed to explain why action would not be taken against him for his failure to comply with its order passed on June 1, 2011 to stop releasing sewer in the Buriganga.
Manzill Murshid, senior lawyer of the Supreme Court and HRPB president, appeared for the petitioner, Amatul Karim for DoE and Siddiqur Rahman Khan for five errant factories.