There have been a flood of commitments by governments regarding water and the environment, but proper implementation of those cannot be seen, an environmental rights activist told a seminar yesterday.
Mihir Biswas, joint secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa), made the remark at a seminar titled “Leaving no one behind” -- held at the conference room of Bangladesh Water Development Board. The Ministry of Water Resources organised the event to mark World Water Day 2019.
Mihir said he has been rallying to save the Buriganga from pollution since 1996, but it has not caused much change.
Speakers at the seminar stressed on improving water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating waste-dumping and minimising release of hazardous chemicals and materials, to ensure safe water for future generations.
Around 40 percent of pollutants of rivers across the country come from domestic sources while 60 percent is from industries, said Umme Kulsum Navera, a professor of Department of Water Resources Engineering of Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology.
Stressing the need for sewage treatment plants, effluent treatment plants and enforcing laws concerned to minimise the challenges, Navera said dissolved oxygen remains almost nil from January to May at different locations of the rivers Buriganga, Shitalakkhya, Balu and Turag.
She said it is very important to ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity.
Addressing the seminar as chief guest, State Minister for Water Resources Zahid Faruk said the government is mulling increasing water-carrying capacity by dredging rivers and digging canals across the country.
He said this initiative will help reduce groundwater depletion across the country, as well as increase water recharging capacity.
Deputy Minister for Water Resources AKM Enamul Haque Shamim said in his childhood, he used to go to his hometown via a steamer whereas he can cross the river now on foot.
He said the government is working to recover rivers from encroachers and increase their navigability, and inter-ministerial coordination is very important in this regard.