‘Our rivers becoming victims of greed’
Rivers across the country are becoming victims of influential and vested quarters' greed, said National River Conservation Commission chairperson ASM Ali Kabir at a webinar yesterday.
He said, "Each river has its own history. Our literature, culture, agro-economy, and every aspect of life depends on our rivers."
"If rivers die, Bangladesh will experience droughts in the northern part and salinity in south. We have to be aware so that our rivers don't have to embrace such fate," he warned.
The webinar was organised by World River Day Celebration Council, to inaugurate a campaign called "March for Rivers".
The programme marked the World River Day today -- observed every last Sunday of September. The day is celebrated across the world to highlight the values of rivers and increase public awareness regarding their conservation.
Kabir also spoke of the rampant encroachment that rivers of the country are subjected to.
"River shores have become victims of the greed of influential and vested quarters. As they maintain their illegal occupancy in the river, we must act to save the rivers from their clutches," he added.
He also said the prime minster has instructed the commission to work intrepidly to reclaim the rivers and not spare anyone no matter how powerful they are.
The commission chair hoped to bring all organisations working for the conservation of rivers together under one platform by convening a conference in this year.
He also shed light on reviving the river economy and proposed unity among the conservation organisations to press home demands to save the rivers.
During his speech, eminent Halda researcher Dr Manzoorul Kibria emphasised on rivers' health, making suggestions to make sure their water is clean so that flora, fauna, and other favourable organisms can thrive.
Sheikh Rokon, member secretary of the council, read out the keynote, placing six points including establishing the rights of river-dependent people like fishermen, farmers.
Sharif Jamil, general secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon, moderated the webinar while Dr Abdul Matin, convenor of the council, chaired the programme.
Various river activists of the country also spoke at the webinar.
World River Day Celebration Council is a platform formed by 71 organisations engaged in river conservation movements in the country.