Year after year, we are told that Dhaka is one of the least liveable cities in the world, and no doubt, our poor management of water flow is largely to blame
As a city that experiences heavy, incessant rains, and has a serious water-logging problem, there is no way to overstate the importance of protecting and preserving Dhaka’s canals. In this regard, unfortunately, the authorities have not done a good job so far.
There are 38 canals in Dhaka city, and they have all been abused over the years in most unfortunate ways. The level of neglect is baffling -- while 26 canals are within the purview of Wasa, the other 12 are not overseen by any authority at all, thus attracting unscrupulous parties to do with them as they please.
It is nothing short of tragic that Kallyanpur, one of Dhaka’s biggest canals, has turned into nothing but a drain, from the rampant pollution and land grabbing. As a recent survey from a national task force shows, the canal is practically dead. Other canals, such as Ramchandrapur, are entirely without a tide and full of hyacinth.
Aside from cleaning up these canals and holding polluters to account, there is the urgent need to stop the grabbing of canals. Greed and short-term personal interest has taken a devastating toll. Markets or roads do not belong in canals, and canal-grabbing is done to the detriment of city life in incalculable ways.
We must take back our canals, the city’s lifeblood, from illegal encroachers and unscrupulous polluters. Year after year, we are told that Dhaka is one of the least liveable cities in the world, and no doubt, our poor management of water flow is largely to blame. Fixing our canal network would be a major step forward in fixing our capital city’s problems.