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1 October, 2018 11:04:41 AM

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Tannery wastes seriously polluting Dhaleshwari

NRCC needs empowerment to fight river grabbers, polluters
Independent Online Desk
Tannery wastes seriously polluting Dhaleshwari

Dhaleshwari river is being seriously polluted due to the discharge of untreated and partially-treated liquid wastes through surface drainage directly to the river from the central effluent treatment plant (CETP) in the relocated tannery industrial estate in Savar. 

National River Conservation Commission (NRCC) Chairman Dr. Muzibur Rahman Howlader stated this in a special article he penned as part of a government supplement published in national dailies on Sunday marking the World Rivers Day. 

“The CETP project has, so far, failed to give any result,” deplored NRCC Chairman.

World Rivers Day is a celebration of the world's waterways.

Observed worldwide including in Bangladesh on fourth Sunday of September, the Day highlights the many values of rivers and strives to increase public awareness and encourages the improved stewardship of rivers around the world.
 
Dr. Muzibur Rahman Howlader also expressed concern at not setting up of a ‘Chromium Recovery Unit’ (CRU) in last one year in the relocated tannery estate.

“Separated chromium cakes have been staked directly on the surface. The chromium is being seeped through the underground with the rainwaters and it may mix up with underground water table. Chromium is a heavy metal that potentially causes spread of cancer,” said the NRCC Chairman.

He apprehended that if the underground water gets polluted by the chromium, the whole area will turn uninhabitable and there will be a serious environmental disaster.

Dr. Muzibur Rahman Howlader, a former land secretary, also noted that his commission has observed structures built illegally occupying riverbanks and disposal of industrial wastes into the rivers surrounding the Dhaka city. 

He said all 46 canals in Dhaka are under illegal occupation while moves are underway to recover 26 of those. But he said the concerned authorities’ efforts to recover grabbed river lands and stopping pollution is too inadequate.

Noting that at least 10,000 cusec of Teesta water has been diverted from Shiliguri to Bihar in India, the NRCC Chairman made a fervent call for an early solution to Teesta water sharing between the coriparian countries.

Officially Bangladesh has 405 rivers flowing over it including 57 international rivers but due to low flow of water in lean periods and man-made choking of natural flows of rivers in many areas across the country people are not getting full benefits of riverine Bangladesh.  

Amidst nationwide outcry over gradual grabbing of rivers and polluting the water bodies by powerful quarters, government passed an act to protect country’s rivers back in 2013 and then a year later NRCC was set up in September 2014 

However, the Commission largely remains a recommendation body and lacks the power to implement any of its decision. Speakers at a discussion on river water pollution at Jatiya Press Club last week, lamented that the NRCC was formed to protect rivers, but it was not given legal and institutional capacities, which are essential to protect rivers.  

Addressing the programme, held under the joint aegis of NRCC, Bapa and Buriganga Riverkeeper, Dr Muzibur Rahman Howlader, the Chairman of NRCC, said they can only make recommendations to authorities concerned but cannot take action against river grabbers or polluters. If the Commission had the power to take action, they would demolish illegal encroachments from the rivers, he added. 

He said they have been given an important work by the government to save rivers, but they need the power to take action against grabbers and polluters when stakeholders fail to take action. Muzibur said there are necessary laws to protect rivers but there is no execution.UNB.

KK

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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