• Saturday, Jul 20, 2019
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Reviving our rivers

  • Published at 12:02 am June 25th, 2019
Dhaka
Photo: NASHIRUL ISLAM

Dhaka city needs a makeover so that our buildings and structure meet the criteria for ensuring proper fire safety

It is unacceptable that a country such as Bangladesh, a riverine nation whose lifeblood are the myriad rivers which run through its landscape, has lost more than 16,000km of its waterways due to negligence. 

It is further disheartening to know that what we have now is merely a fraction of what we used to in the past: Before 1960, we boasted 24,000km of waterways. 

This sad state of affairs should come as no surprise considering the fact that, for decades, authorities and policy-makers alike have failed to prioritize our rivers and provide them with the protection they deserve. 

In many cases, the main culprit has been the multiple industries on the banks of rivers, which have used -- and, sadly, continue to use -- the water-bodies as nothing more than a dumping ground for their toxic waste. 

In this regard, it is encouraging to know that the government has taken steps to ensure that such negligence does not continue in the future -- for example, dredging work is already underway in 178 rivers and more than 12,000 illegal structures have been removed from key port areas across the nation. 

Perhaps the most encouraging in this regard is the installment of CCTV cameras at major ports, an important step towards ensuring rivers are protected in the future.

With our waterways being a key natural resource, crucial for the nation’s sustenance of the nation’s ecosystem and the livelihoods of millions of people, we must ensure that we do everything in our power to preserve them and bring them back to life.