The future of our rivers and water bodies is bleak and there is an urgent need for the government to see through the projects it has undertaken. This aspect emerged clearly in a seminar organised by the water resources ministry marking World Water Day.
The harmful effects of unbridled pollution on the lifelines of Dhaka need no repetition; neither does the critical importance of rivers to the capital city. But despite the declared intention of the government to resuscitate the major rivers surrounding the capital, their rate of degradation, particularly the Buriganga, is increasing at an alarming rate.
Many of the problems have to do with poor planning and even shoddier implementation. It is about time the government called to account the project implementation committees and the organisations that are intricately linked with various projects.The impediments should be identified and ways devised to remove those. For example, statistics reveal 40 percent of river pollution comes from domestic sources. Both disincentives and incentives should be offered to people so that they do not dispose their waste in the rivers. The administration should parallelly provide people alternative means to dispose of wastes, both solid and liquid.
Moreover, the government must address the biggest river polluters: the industries that have mushroomed alongside the rivers. There is neither a proper waste disposal facility nor effluent treatment plants in many factories. We are also well aware of the shoddy planning that has afflicted the relocated tanneries in Savar. The onus remains on the administration to save our rivers. Large-scale projects with big outlay would mean little if not implemented on time.