We commend the High Court for passing an order to the Department of Environment (DoE) on December 8 to shut down all illegal industries, factories, and organisations on both shores of the Buriganga and submit a complete compliance report to it. The court has also ordered the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) to seal off all its drains and sewerage lines connected to the river and file a progress report every month.
Reportedly, the government has shut down or shifted a lot of tanneries and factories that were dumping untreated waste into the Buriganga. But still there are many that have been polluting the river defying the HC directives. The DoE’s recent report submitted to the HC has found that 52 fabric washing plants have been operating on the south shore of Buriganga without any environmental clearance certificate (ECC) and effluent treatment plant (ETP). The situation on the north shore of Buriganga is no better. Moreover, a recent BIWTA investigation has found 68 underground drains and sewerage lines of Wasa to be connected to the Buriganga. Besides, there must be many such waste disposal lines connected to the river. Therefore, it needs all-out efforts from the government to stop the operation of illegal factories and industries on the shores of Buriganga and seal off the sewerage lines linked to it.
Sadly, the High Court on many occasions in the past gave directives to save the river but the authorities concerned and those responsible for polluting the river did not comply. Saving the Buriganga as well as all other rivers must be a priority for the government. Thus, the government should act on the HC directives. At the same time, we urge the HC to keep watch on the state agencies concerned so that they comply with its directives.