We commend the High Court for directing the Department of Environment (DoE) to shut 25 factories and two private hospitals on the bank of the Buriganga River which have been operating without environment clearance certificates. The HC also directed the authorities to clean up the river and remove all sources of pollution from there. It is most unfortunate that little action has been taken to prevent pollution in the Buriganaga despite the fact that a writ petition was filed in 2010 in this regard and the court had ordered the government to take action regarding this.
Although the recent report prepared by the Wasa states that there are no sewerage lines connected to the Buriganga and that there is no pollution, the BIWTA report has found that several such lines are polluting the river. Presenting a false report to the HC is something that we do not expect from an MD of a responsible state agency such as Wasa.
Moreover, what we do not understand is, what the state agencies, including the National River Conservation Commission, have been doing to stop such illegal practices. It is not that the factories and other structures that have been polluting the Buriganga have sprung up in a day. Shouldn’t the DoE have stopped the constructions before they had started? Also, why do the various agencies and authorities have to wait for orders from the court to do something that is a part of their mandated task?
We now hope that all the agencies concerned will abide by the HC directives and none of them will abdicate their duties when it comes to bringing back life to our rivers. All the illegal structures—not only those on the bank of Buriganga, but also those on the bank of Shitalakhya and other rivers—that have been polluting our rivers should be removed without further delay.