Errant factories flout HC rule
Although many tanneries located in Hazaribagh have been taking preparations to relocate to Savar, the High Court has issued a contempt ruling against ten factories for non-compliance. The saga of tannery relocation has stepped into its 15th year and we are informed that the government intends to complete the process by 2016. The last hurdle to the Savar project has now been removed with the installation of a Tk.600 crore central effluent plant. Differences of opinion persist between the government and tannery owners on the costs of relocation. Even though the compensation package may fall short of covering expenses, this largely export-oriented industry has grown at the expense of environmental pollution and public health and should therefore absorb the added expenditure.
With around 22,000 cubic litres of toxic waste being dumped into the Buriganga everyday, it is hardly surprising that ground and surface waters around Hazaribagh have dangerously high concentrations of chromium, cadmium, arsenic and lead. The sustained contamination of rivers allows for the accretion of such toxins in fish which are consumed by the general public at large, exposing them to various serious ailments. It is high time authorities took a tougher stance to protect public health by implementing the environmental laws to effect relocation to the new industrial park and adopt processes and technologies that are less polluting.