In previous years, efforts to clean up our rivers have been ineffective
The High Court’s order to the Department of Environment (DoE) to shut down factories and private hospitals -- those lacking environmental clearance certificates -- on the banks of the Buriganga River is a necessary and timely directive, and a long time coming.
Among the many problems that the authorities have to solve, river encroachment has continued to be among the trickier challenges, which continues unabated to this day and with no real solutions being put forward.
As a result of which, many of our rivers -- which have, for decades, been the lifeblood of our nation -- are in a state where they appear beyond saving.
The once-great Buriganga River, which so many people still depend on for their livelihoods, has been dying a slow, painful death -- putting the lives of those who are dependent on it at great risk.
Suffice to say, this cannot be allowed to go on, and hopefully, the High Court’s directive is the first step towards reversing the sheer damage that the Buriganga River has had to endure for decades now.
In previous years, efforts to clean up our rivers have been ineffective due to numerous factors -- among which include the impunity that polluters have historically enjoyed, bureaucracy and lack of cooperation among government bodies concerned, and ultimately, negligence on the part of all authorities concerned in not prioritizing this issue.
It is worth reiterating just how valuable rivers are, and have been, to Bangladesh over the years; they are an inextricable part of our heritage and national identity and we must prioritize their protection.