Tuesday, 26 October, 2021

Revival of Dhaka Rivers

A welcome move

A welcome move

Nothing other than this can be more welcome to the city dwellers, particularly those who, with agonies, have witnessed the long-drawn-out and painful dying process of these water courses. To the best of our knowledge, there is hardly any city anywhere in the world, which is bestowed with flowing rivers all around and crisscrossed by so many natural canals. Those rivers and canals not only washed the city regularly and kept it clean from dust and dirt, but also served as viable transportation and communication lines round the year. But – imprudent and short-sighted as we are – we allowed these lifelines to decay and turn into a curse for those who reside in their proximity.

With the subjection of the rivers to utter negligence and dumping of wastes in them for decades and also false promises from regimes after regimes as regards their reclamation, we stopped dreaming that these vital lifelines of the city would at all be brought back to life. Moreover, it was extremely painful for us to think that Bangladesh, graduating to a middle income and later hopefully to a developed country status, will have its capital city surrounded by rivers with extremely dirty water flowing in them. 

However, a good piece of news is that a 20-year master plan to spell new life into the rivers is in the process of finalisation. As we came to know from a back page story of this daily, on implementation of the plan the rivers, with clean water flowing through them, will regain navigability and attract tourists with greeneries, pleasant walkways and eco-parks along their banks.

The revival of lost rivers first needs to be defined in clear terms. The main culprits that put the rivers to death rows and rendered them completely useless are illegal encroachment of riverbeds and banks, dumping of huge household and industrial wastes into them and accumulation of massive quantities of silt due to lack of dredging since time immemorial. It is pleasant to note that all these issues have been taken into consideration and possibly all necessary tasks to save the rivers incorporated into the plan.

The master plan instils optimism into our mind and inspires us to dream once again for a city surrounded by rivers with clean water flowing in them.