Some of our rivers are so polluted, they appear to be beyond saving.
A new study has found that Buriganga, Shitalakkhya, Dhaleshwari, Turag Bongshi, and Balu are so severely contaminated, that it has become impossible to even treat the water to make it usable for humans.
Needless to say, this also takes a severe toll on aquatic life, and various industries.
The situation is nothing short of tragic. Bangladesh is a riverine country, with rivers inextricably tied to not just our heritage, but our livelihood.
It is time, then, to get serious about protecting the rivers that can still be saved.
For this to happen, the government must act urgently.
The first thing to do is to stop the continuous discharge of the thousands of tons of industrial waste, garbage, and sewage water into our rivers.
In the past, we have seen projects to clean up rivers such as Shitalakkhya fail because of the impunity granted to polluters.
Industrial sites such as tanneries also need to be relocated away from rivers.
Ultimately, it is blatant disregard for the law and the environment which has made it so difficult to clean up our rivers.
It is high time that polluters paid the price for the damage they have caused.
Recently, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stressed the importance of protecting our water resources. Every living organism requires water to survive. As such, it is the most precious commodity on the planet.
It is, then, a shame how we have abused and failed to protect our rivers.
We have made mistakes in the way we have treated our rivers so far. Let us not continue to make those mistakes in the future.