The High Court yesterday directed owners of seven textile and dyeing factories to establish separate effluent treatment plants (ETPs) in next three months in order to stop dumping of waste into the Buriganga and save the river from pollution.
If the companies -- situated in Kadamtali and Shyampur areas on the bank of the river -- do not set up ETPs in three months, authorities concerned will be ordered to stop their activities, the HC said while hearing separate writ petitions filed by the owners.
The factories are Mita Textiles, M/S Ovijat Dyeing, Chandpur Textiles and Dyeing, Shahjadi Dyeing, M/S Vorasha Dyeing, Lamia Textile and Dyeing and Shamim Textile and Dyeing.
The court, however, asked the government to immediately restore electricity connections of the factories so that they can run their activities.
The connections were snapped following September 11 notices sent to the factories by the ministry of forest and environment, asking them to stop their operations as they have not set up ETPS and were dumping waste into the river.
The HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Khairul Alam gave the order after hearing arguments on the petitions, filed challenging legality of the government notices.
The court also issued separate rules asking authorities concerned of the government to explain in four weeks why the notices should not be declared illegal.
During yesterday’s hearing, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam vehemently opposed the petitions, saying that Bangladesh is dependent on its rivers. If the rivers are not protected, the country will not survive.
The factories, which are dumping waste into Buriganga, cannot be allowed to run their operations in any manner, he argued.
Petitioners’ lawyers Barrister Shafique Ahmed and Advocate Zainul Abedin told the court that their clients have met the officials concerned of Dhaka Wasa, Rajuk and LGRD ministry for establishing a common ETP for treating waste of their factories.
They have decided that Wasa would establish a common ETP with funding from the seven factories, but Wasa has not taken any step in this regard, they said.
Barrister Mahbub Shafique, a lawyer for the petitioners, told The Daily Star that his clients will try to set up separate ETPs in three months in line with the HC order.
Following a writ petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh, the HC on June 1, 2011 ordered the authorities concerned to seal off all the sewage outlets into the Buriganga, Deputy Attorney General Amit Dasgupta told this correspondent yesterday.
In continuation of the petition, the HC on May 2 this year ordered the authorities to submit a report before it about the steps taken to remove illegal structures and waste from the banks of the river. Following the order, the ministry of forest and environment on September 11 sent notices to the factories. The owners then filed the petitions, he added.