Fed up by continued indifference from authorities, a group of youngsters voluntarily started cleaning Tajkathi canal in Barishal city on Saturday.
The 1.35km canal, stretching from Radio Centre area to Putiakhali canal, is filled with all sorts of garbage and the situation, according to locals, has remained this way for around three years.
This situation causes waterlogging in Rupatoli Housing, Rupatoli bus stand, Bashundhara Housing, Arafat Housing and Kalijira areas during the rainy season, said Rubel Molla, a resident of Basundhara Housing area.
“As Barishal City Corporation has failed to remove the garbage in the last two years, we started cleaning the canal on our own,” said Rubel, president of Bashundhara Housing Youth Students Welfare Association.
“We are using bamboo and sticks in the cleaning drive. We have already cleaned 15 percent of the canal and will be able to finish the rest of the work in the next seven days,” said Arafat Hossain, secretary of the association.
“We informed the BCC authorities and ward councillors, but they did nothing. Last year, the entire housing area was flooded with dirty water,” he said.
While talking to The Daily Star, many complained about skin diseases due to the situation.
Niaz Rahman, another resident of Bashundhara Housing area, said, “We got tired of enduring this problem and decided to do something about it.”
According to the association, a group of youths first started the cleaning drive under its banner and later others joined them.
They said at least 25 volunteers and five day-labourers hired by them are working on this.
Dr Rabiul Islam, acting conservancy officer of the BCC, however, said they also began cleaning drains and canals 15 days ago and already cleaned some of them. But Tajkathi canal is yet to be cleaned, he added.
Md Anisuzzaman, superintendent engineer of BCC, said, “We welcome such initiative taken by people. BCC is sincerely trying to clean the canals and drains.”
The Daily Star has been running a series of special reports focusing on the situation of all the canals of Barishal city. The last part of the series will be published soon.