Residents at a discussion yesterday urged the government to take immediate steps to curb pollution as living conditions in Savar has deteriorated due to indiscriminate waste dumping.
They said different industries, including the ones located in Dhaka export processing zone, and the newly relocated tanneries, continue to dump waste in rivers, canals and other waterbodies in Savar, posing health risks to locals.
Over a thousand people as well as high officials from the government and non-government organisations participated in the discussion, where people spoke about their concerns.
Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, Association for Land Reform and Development, Nijera Kori, Transparency International Bangladesh and Nodi O Poribesh Unnyan Parishad organised the event at Savar Golf Club auditorium.
Lawmaker Saber Hossain Chowdhury, chief of parliamentary standing committee on environment, was present as chief guest.
Lawmaker Rezaul Karim Bablu and Khodeza Nasrin Akhter Hosen, both members of the committee on environment, and Dr Sultan Ahmed, director general of Department Environment, were present as special guests.
Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of Bela; Shamsul Huda, executive director of ALRD; Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of TIB; and Shamsul Haque, president of Nodi O Poribesh, were present, among others.
Officials from Public Works Department, upazila administration and municipal authorities also attended the discussion.
At the event, locals said the waste dumping zone set up at Aminbazar beside Dhaka-Aricha highway -- where wastes from two Dhaka city corporations is dumped -- is harming the environment.
Shahanaz Begum, a resident of Jhauchar, said authorities are overlooking the pollution problem in Savar. Dumping of tannery waste is spreading toxic gas in adjacent areas.
Alamgir Hossen, a resident of Tannery area, said his family members have been facing breathing problems since the tanneries were shifted there.
Abdul Halim, a resident of Ashulia, said, “Once we used to catch fish in Dholai Beel, one of the largest waterbodies in Savar. Its water has become severely polluted due to liquid waste.”
Sohel Ahmed, a resident of Baliapur, said Dhaka city corporations are dumping waste in the area, polluting the environment.
Urging authorities to take steps, Jesmin Akter, a resident of Savar municipality area, said waste is being dumped beside the highways and roads.
Hazi Abdul Goni, mayor of Savar municipality, urged the government to save Bongshi river from pollution and grabbers.
Assuring residents, Saber Hossain Chowdhury said, “I will discuss the issues in today's parliamentary meeting.” A monitoring cell can be formed to address the concerns, he suggested.
He said they will organise another discussion at the end of the year to let the residents know of the steps they have taken to curb pollution.
Dr Sultan Ahmed, director general of DoE, assured of further steps to prevent pollution in Savar.
At the meeting, local authorities promised to remove waste from roads within two months.
In the morning, lawmakers and officials, led by Saber Hossain, visited Savar's Baliapur Dumping Station, Tannery and Kornopara areas.