Wage a social movement for the protection of rivers, they said
A High Court order is not enough to protect rivers. Rather, it is the people whose active role can do the job, said experts, researchers, and academics.
They were addressing the second day of the 5th International Water Conference, on Saturday, organized by ActionAid Bangladesh (AAB) in Kuakata, Patuakhali.
Imtiaz Ahmed, Professor of Dhaka University, during his address, said the law and the court have termed rivers a living entity.
“Alongside the state, its people, who have to act in order to help implement the term. Such a court order encourages the people (in protecting rivers),” he observed.
Referring to last June’s full verdict of the apex court dubbing Turag and all other rivers in Bangladesh as legal persons, or legal and living entities, he said: “We got the judgment after years of advocacy to this end.
“The masses have to be aware of the verdict and change their mindset. Adopting laws or pronouncing court orders cannot be a permanent solution to river encroachment,” he suggested.
ActionAid Country Director Farah Kabir said rampant pollution and grabbing of rivers is affecting the lives of marginal people.
“So people irrespective of their social strata, have to take the matter seriously and wage a social movement for the protection of rivers,” she said.
ActionAid official Osman Bin Nasim said, other than the High Court order it is the duty of the state and the people to take care of rivers.
Among others, Rahima Sultana Kajol, a Patuakhali development worker, addressed the event where a number of research papers on rivers were presented.
The three-day day event will come to an end on Sunday with a visit of its participant’s to a water museum.