Wastewater kills Dhaka’s lifeline rivers : Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain

| Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 6:42 am
Khandker Mosharraf Hossain

The uncontrolled release of wastewater into the water bodies around capital Dhaka has compelled its lifeline rivers to die over decades, a senior minister said yesterday, assuring the government’s fresh initiative was however expected to enliven the rivers within next five-six years.

“We see the polluted Buriganga, Balu, Shitalakkhya and Turag in a sorry state. But have we ever asked ourselves what has caused them to this level? It’s the wastewater we discharge into these rivers has led them to this dying state,” LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Engineer Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain told a seminar in the city.

Flanked by senior government officials and heads of the WASA of Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna and Rajshahi, Engineer Mosharraf spoke the seminar arranged on the eve of the World Water Day marked each year on March 22 since 1993.

The minister said the government has taken multiple steps to redesign and redevelop the water resources across Bangladesh and hoped that the country would see a positive picture of all polluted rivers within next six years.

Not only would the rivers be enlivened, he said and added that the abandoned ponds and water bodies in cities and villages would also be re-excavated to preserve rain waters.

Besides reducing wastage of water everywhere, Mosharraf said, rational uses of water should be ensured at households, industries and agriculture fields.”What is the rationale behind wasting of tap waters while brushing teeth every day?” he posed a question.

He said tonnes of sewage of Dhaka city were released into the major rivers without treatment while industrial waste waters were poured into the water bodies polluting both surface and ground waters. The people should also be partially held responsible for it because of their irrational behavior, he said.

Prime Minister’s Principal Coordinator on SDGs Mohammad Abul Kalam Azad, who spoke as the special guest, supplemented Mosharraf and said water availability at minimal price made people less bothered about the wastage of precious water. So, an alternative thought to ‘water rationing’ might be considered, he added.

Local Government Division Secretary Abdul Maleque cited examples of fresh water wastages and said he could not understand logic behind the uses of fresh water during car wash and gardening. The two tasks can be done otherwise, he added.

Heads of water and sewerage authority (WASA) of four major cities of the country acknowledged that they were over relied on groundwater sources, but narrated their endevours to come out of it.

They said major programmes were underway to supply drinking water to cities from surface water sources, especially from rivers in near future.