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Save our rivers before it is too late

  • Published at 08:35 pm December 22nd, 2016
Save our rivers before it is too late

It is a sad commentary that a country known for rivers has allowed its rivers to be polluted to this extent.

A recent study reveals that the rivers Buriganga, Shitalakkhya, Dhaleshwari, Turag Bongshi, and Balu are so severely contaminated that it is impossible to even treat the water to make it usable for humans.

Such levels of pollution spells death for aquatic life, and even various industries.

This situation is nothing short of tragic. Bangladesh is a riverine country, with rivers inextricably tied to not just our heritage but also our livelihood.

It is time, then, to get serious about protecting the rivers that can still be saved.

The government has done a good thing in setting up a high-level committee to save rivers around Dhaka and Chittagong’s Karnaphuli. It is certainly high time that such an initiative was undertaken.

The committee would do well 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 cleaning up our rivers such a difficult endeavour.

Needless to say, polluters must pay 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.