52 factories operating illegally, polluting Buriganga river
07:43 PM, December 08, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 08:15 PM, December 08, 2019

Shut factories operating illegally, polluting Buriganga

The High Court orders Department of Environment

The High Court today ordered the Department of Environment (DoE) DoE to shut down the operations of all industries, factories and other structures on both shores of Buriganga River, which running without its approval and polluting the river.

During hearing a writ petition, the HC also directed the DoE to submit a complete report after complying with the directive to this court by January 8 next year.

At the same time, the court ordered the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) to implement its undertaking about sealing off the drains and sewerage lines connected to Buriganga properly and to submit the first progress report to the court by January 8.

Earlier in the day, the DoE submitted a report to the HC through its lawyer Advocate Amatul Karim saying that a total of 52 washing factories without having any environmental clearance certificate (ECC) and effluent treatment plant (ETP) are illegally operating on the south shore of Buriganga River and polluting its water and environment.

Besides, some factories and structures without having ECC and ETP are running operations on the north shore of Buriganga in Dhaka metropolitan area also polluting the river, and an inquiry is going on about them, the DoE said in a report submitted to the HC as per its earlier order.

The DoE, however, said in the compliance report that it has shut operations of 27 such factories and industries in 2017 and 18 factories and industries this year as they were polluting the Buriganga River.

Going through the report, the HC bench of Justice Gobinda Chandra Tagore and Justice Mohammad Ullah passed the order for shutting down the operations of illegal industries, factories and other structures on both shores of Buriganga and sought the compliance report.

Meanwhile, the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) today submitted an undertaking to the HC through its lawyer Advocate Umme Salma saying that it will seal off all its drains and sewerage lines connected to the Buriganga river and to file a progress report to this court in every month.                    

At the same time, Managing Director of Dhaka Wasa, Taqsem A Khan offered an unconditional apology to the HC bench for making an untrue statement about sewerage lines connected to the Buriganga.

The Wasa’s MD has submitted a report to the HC on December 2 saying that there are 67 underground drains and sewerage lines connected to Buriganga river though he had submitted another report to the court on June 18 this year saying that there was no such line connected to the Buriganga.  

The HC bench said this court will accept the apology of the Wasa’s MD and will exonerate him from the case proceedings after six months it if becomes satisfied after the Wasa properly implement its undertaking.

The apology petition of the Wasa’s MD will be kept in the case record until further order, the HC bench said.

During the proceedings on the petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB) in 2010, the HC bench said if the Wasa and DoE become sincere and work through forming separate teams they can stop flows and dumping of polluting wastes and disposals into Buriganga in accordance with law within few days.

This court has directed the authorities to seal off all sewerage disposal lines in 2011, but it has to pass further order to implement its 2011 directive, the bench said.    

The HC bench said Dhaka has become the most polluted city in the world.

How people will breathe if the situation is not improved, it said.  

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) recently submitted a compliance report to the HC bench, saying that there are 68 underground drains and sewerage lines connected to Buriganga river.

On December 3, the HC bench observed that Dhaka Wasa is responsible for controlling 68 underground drains and sewerage lines connected to the Buriganga river and Dhaka city corporations are responsible for the surface pipelines.

The HC ordered BIWTA to identify whether there are any waste disposal lines connected to both shores of Buriganga in Dhaka except the 68 underground drains and sewerage lines and to seal off them by January 7 next year.

Advocate Aklas Uddin Bhuiyan and Advocate Ripan Barai stood for HRPB.

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