Turag turns into a dumping zone
Turag river is gradually filling up with the waste industries and residents are dumping onto the eastern shore of the waterbody, which falls under the jurisdiction of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC).
The river channel has significantly shrunk from Gabtoli to Nawaberbagh, as a huge amount of waste is accumulating on the banks of both sides of the river.
During a recent visit, this correspondent saw that a significant part of the shore is full of garbage.
A similar situation was also noticed at Bisil and Mirpur zoo areas, where the office of a truck drivers' association stands on the riverbank.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) has taken the initiative to construct a walkway along Turag. The path from Bosila to Borobazar has already been completed. Currently, construction is underway between Borobazar and Diabari areas.
It appears that state-run organisations are working to ruin the river, instead of protecting it.
However, the work faced multiple obstacles due to indiscriminate waste dumping, said locals and workers at the construction site. Pedestrians are finding it difficult to walk on the completed parts of the walkway due to garbage dumping.
As per the walkway's design, BIWTA plans to build stairs from the walkway to the part of the river in Mirpur's Borobazar Mosque area. For this purpose, BIWTA-appointed construction company Reve Dredging and Engineering made large holes.
However, the holes have been filled up by DNCC workers with waste.
"We construct the holes, but DNCC fills those with waste. This has been going on repeatedly. We filed multiple complaints but to no avail," said Md Hemayetuddin, manager of the construction company.
BIWTA has verbally and officially requested DNCC authorities to stop dumping waste on the riverbank on multiple occasions. However, the authorities have failed to pay any heed, said construction officials.
An eco-park has been set up in Mirpur Boro Bazar area on the bank of Turag. The park too is not free of the garbage problem, as a huge amount of waste has been piled up near it.
BIWTA has verbally and officially requested DNCC authorities to stop dumping waste on the riverbank on multiple occasions.
BIWTA superintendent engineer Abu Zafar Mohammad Shahnawaz Kabir on February 14 wrote a letter to DNCC chief waste management officer, requesting to take necessary measures to keep the riverbank free of waste and pollution.
Contacted, Poribesh Bachao Andolon Chairperson Abu Naser Khan said the city corporation is committing two crimes -- dumping waste and polluting river water. He mentioned that DNCC has crossed many of the river's boundary-demarcation pillars, which were set up inside the river's territory, to dump waste.
"Not only is this practice narrowing the river, it is also polluting it. And the worst part is that all of it is done by an autonomous government body. It is utterly unacceptable," said Naser.
"It appears that state-run organisations are working to ruin the river, instead of protecting it," said Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon general secretary Sharif Jamil.
Despite repeated attempts, this correspondent could not get in touch with the DNCC mayor and chief waste management officer.
[Tarun Sarkar is a freelance journalist and researcher]