Friday, June 14, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Our rivers are in danger

Rivers are the veritable blood vessels of our country

Update : 19 May 2024, 01:55 AM
Despite our label of “the land of rivers,” Bangladesh has historically treated its rivers as an afterthought, allowing one too many of the river bodies to essentially die from neglect and pollution.

It is then nothing short of a breath of fresh air to know that Kurigram’s Buri Teesta river is in the process of undergoing a rejuvenation project thanks to the Barendra Multipurpose Development Authorities.

According to the Bangladesh Water Development Board, the Buri Teesta -- which runs to the length of 76km -- used to be a part of the River Teesta but eventually became a tributary due to the greater river changing course over time. The forces of siltation and encroachment all but resulted in the gradual murder of the river which gave way to the destruction of cropland due to monsoon floods.

This is certainly terrific news.

Rivers have long been a defining trait of Bangladesh’s geographical make-up, hence the nomenclature “land of rivers,” but the government’s lack of action in maintaining the health of our rivers and undoing the damage to the ones which are on their deathbed has all but empowered serial encroachers to carry on their business. What is worse is that we lack any semblance of reliable data which could paint a picture of the sheer damage which has been dealt to our rivers.

River erosion has slowly emerged as a bona fide danger to rural Bangladeshis -- it was near the end of last year that the nation witnessed 25-30 houses, croplands, and other establishments getting washed away due to erosion in areas along the Teesta River in Aditmari upazila. The human and economic toll of this disaster is simply far too high for the government to not notice.

Rivers are the veritable blood vessels of our country, they facilitate everything from the ecology to the economy and it is an absolute shame that we have left them to a state of disrepair for this long.
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