Sewerage disposal into drains
Action against offending house owners orderedStaff Correspondent
The government on Wednesday asked the authorities concerned to take action against the house owners who dispose of their sewerage into the storm sewers, ultimately polluting the rivers around the capital.
The task force responsible for ensuring the navigability and natural flow of the Buriganga, the Sitalakhya, the Balu, the Turag and others rivers across the country gave the directive at its 18th meeting the shipping minister, Shajahan Khan, presided over at the secretariat.
‘We have also directed the authorities concerned to free the Buckland Bund on the River Buriganga from Shyampur to Sadarghat of illegal structures in seven days,’ Shajahan told reporters after the meeting.
He said that many had set up shops and other establishments encroaching on the river and its embankments. ‘We want to keep the area free of all kinds of illegal structures so that people can move along the river bank.’
The task force asked the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority to identify house owners who had illegally connected their sewerage lines to the storm water drainage system, severely polluting to the river water.
The meeting was told that WASA had made a disposal of untreated liquid wastes through at least 52 points as the state-run agency does not have adequate facilities to treat the contaminated water before its disposal into the rivers.
WASA provides sewerage facilities for about 25 area of the Dhaka city while most sewerage lines of houses and others buildings in the remaining areas are connected to the storm water drainage that directly falls in the rivers, officials said.
He said that the authorities, including the district administration, had taken steps to protect the rivers — the Buriganga, the Sitalakhya, the Balu and the Turag — from being polluted and encroached on hindering their natural flow.
The minister claimed that the water quality of the rivers had improved a little as the percentage of dissolved oxygen was recorded between 0.45mg and 1mg a litre which was 0mg a litre in 2010 against the standards of 5mg/L for maintaining aquatic life in surface water in Bangladesh.
At the previous task force meeting on May 8, the shipping minister blamed the ‘weak waste management’ of the city corporations for pollution of the rivers around the city.
He said that the task force still could not stop the Dhaka city corporations from polluting the rivers.
Despite efforts, municipal as well as industrial wastes are dumped into the rivers, polluting water, the meeting discussed.
The land minister, Rezaul Karim Hira, the water resources minister, Ramesh Chandra Sen, and the environment minister, Hasan Mahmud, among others, attended the meeting.
The task force head said that they had taken measures to evict illegal occupants from the river banks and complete the ongoing demarcation of the four rivers around the capital to restore the original territory of the rivers.
The task force, however, ordered the Jessore deputy commissioner to take steps to restore the river Hakar. ‘We have asked the deputy commissioner to send a report on the river’s present situation to us,’ the shipping minister said.
Asked about fresh encroachment on the Balu and the Turag by influential quarters, Shajahan expressed their helplessness in protecting the rivers from illegal land grabbers.
He said that the land ministry was ultimately responsible for reclamation of the river land from grabbers.
Tonnes of wastes continue to be dumped into the Buriganga despite a High Court order to stop such waste disposal into the river or on its banks and to have the riverbanks cleaned up by a special team.
The High Court in June 2011 directed the erstwhile Dhaka City Corporation, which is now split into two entities, to take early steps in this regard.
A huge amount of waste is also dumped into the river every day along the riverbanks between Kamrangir Char Bridge and the Second Buriganga Bridge.
Municipal wastes are dumped into Mina Bazar Canal near Bhanga Masjid, opposite Mitali Tannery at Hazaribagh, near Companyghat Canal at Dholaipar and at many other places, from where the wastes are carried into the river through the canals or sewers.
Wastes are also dumped into the river near the Nababganj sluice gate, Shaheed Nagar Balughat and the Alirghat Pirjihujur footbridge.
The shipping minister said that city corporation officials had, however, been asked to take effective steps to stop such wast disposal into the rivers at any cost and help to keep the rivers pollution-free.
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