Legal action will be taken against all the industrial units that are responsible for polluting the Karnaphuli river, the lifeline of Chittagong city and the country's premier port, Chairman of Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) Rear Admiral Nizamuddin Ahmed said yesterday.
The responsible industrial units will be identified through spot visits, he declared while addressing the first meeting of a high-powered committee which the shipping ministry has formed with Ahmed as convener to check the river pollution.
Laying emphasis on different steps to maintain the river's navigation, the CPA chairman said all canals would be demarcated, cleaned and the grabbers would be evicted.
The shipping ministry on May 30 formed the 14-member committee for recommendations on how to maintain navigation and current of the Karnaphuli and check its pollution, said sources.
The committee comprises representatives from Chittagong City Corporation (CCC), Chittagong Development Authority (CDA), the Department of Environment (DoE), Chittagong District Administration and officials of CPA and other local administrations.
During yesterday's meeting at the CPA, the committee formed four sub-committees on cleaning, dredging and demarcation of the canals of the river and on identifying the causes of pollution.
In a power point presentation, the CPA chairman said most of the 55 big or small canals that crossed the city and emptied into the river had been filled with garbage or grabbed illegally. He sought cooperation from all the government agencies, factory owners to save the river.
Participants of the meeting held chemical waste discharged by industrial units on the Karnaphuli bank and solid waste from the city for pollution.
DoE Chittagong Director Jafar Alam, a member of the committee, said the river could face the fate of the Buriganga if the pollution and encroachment could not be stopped immediately.
Describing the level of pollution, Poribesh Bachao Andolan (Poba) Executive General Secretary Md Abdus Sobhan, another member, said dissolved oxygen in the Karnaphuli water and its adjoining canals had fallen to almost zero at different places.