Speakers at a symposium yesterday said proper enforcement of law and enhanced monitoring system by the government are required to stop unauthorised sand extraction from river beds.
Dredging on waterways is required to ensure navigability while sand collection is also necessary for infrastructural development. However, unplanned sand extraction has been posing threat to biodiversity and causing river erosions in different parts of the country, they said.
Riverine People, an organisation campaigning for safe rivers, arranged the symposium on “Sand Extraction and Our Rivers” in the capital's Cirdap auditorium, marking World Rivers Day 2018.
Each year, the day has been observed globally on the last Sunday of September.
Like water, sand is essential for ensuring biodiversity of rivers, said Disaster Forum Member Secretary Gowhar Nayeem Wahra.
Specific instruction should be in place to determine from which part of the river sand can be extracted from, he said.
Addressing the symposium, National River Conservation Commission Chairman Muzibur Rahman Hawladar said mapping is required to determine areas of river beds for sand extraction. For this, a nationwide hydro-morphological study is essential, which has to upgrade each year with changing riverine scenario, he said.
Presenting a paper on the topic, Enamul Mazid Khan, coordinator of water governance at Oxfam Bangladesh, said although there is no licensed sand quarry in Kurigram district, sand extraction is rampant in the Bhrahmaputra river there.
Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon Joint Secretary Mihir Biswas, Riverine People Secretary General Sheikh Rokon and BIWTA Joint Director Arif Hasnat, among others, spoke.