Rafiqul Haque, who lives close by the BNP Canal in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar of the capital, has long since seen the canal full with filth and weeds.
Recently, he saw city corporation workers clean it half-heartedly. He said some of the waste was never removed.
Rafiqul said most of the wastes in the canal are from the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (Nitor), also known as Pangu Hospital.
Speaking to this correspondent, he expressed his fear the canal will be full again with waste in just a few days.
In January this year, both the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) very enthusiastically embarked on a massive drive to recover and clean canals in order to eliminate waterlogging from the capital.
Ironically, the waste which piled up on the banks of the water bodies are going back into the canals and drains again.
To make matters worse, people from nearby areas dump their household waste directly in the water bodies.
Although both the city corporations claimed the three-month crash programme undertaken after assuming authority of the canals and the drainage system from the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) has been a great success, city dwellers and urban planners believe it will not bring much benefit.
Locals living near the canals said if these canals are not cleaned regularly, there will be waterlogging again when it rains. They complained that the canals have only been cleaned half-heartedly by city corporation employees, but the drains and culverts that need to be maintained, are not cleaned regularly.
Experts say, city dwellers are not benefitting in the long term, even if they benefit temporarily from the removal of waste now.
Urban planners believe a lasting solution cannot be found without creating awareness among the people and working on medium- and long-term plans to rescue the canals.
Nasima, living near the Jirani canal, told TBS that even though the canal was cleaned, the waste is still sitting on the banks. If it rains, this will all go into the canal again and instead of solving the problem, it will make it worse.
Rapid drainage will be possible only if the canals and other tributaries around them can be kept free and flowing. Otherwise, people have to face the same problems every year.
Urban planners say the canals will have to be recovered as per the CS records to revive them from their existing dilapidated condition. They said the canals need to be connected to the surrounding rivers and then the capital will have good drainage.
Adil Mohammed Khan, general secretary of the Bangladesh Institute of Planners, told TBS that the short-term work done by the two city corporations to salvage the canals and eliminate the city's waterlogging IS certainly commendable, but there is no room for complacency.
He added that cityfolk will not benefit from short-term work if it is not done with medium and long-term plans in mind.
"In the process that is going on now, the filth of canals is going back to the canals again. As soon as the monsoon starts, there will be waterlogging because the waste that has not been removed will contaminate the rest of the canals," he added.
Meanwhile, the DNCC has promised to completely free areas in its jurisdiction from waterlogging through a crash programme, while the DSCC says waterlogging will be tolerable in areas under its control.
Commodore M Saidur Rahman, chief waste management officer of DNCC, told TBS, "We have left the waste on the banks of the canals and after drying, some of the waste has been removed though it has not been possible to remove the waste from many places. Because there is no place to dump this waste, we are trying to get a place where we can keep it."
On December 31, the responsibility of 26 out of 39 canals in the city corporation areas was handed over to the two city corporations.
The remaining 13 canals, where there was hardly any flow of water, continue under the supervision of the Water Development Board and various agencies under the Ministry of Housing and Public Works.
Most of the canal areas have seen encroachment and though the city corporations undertook an initiative to recover the canals, they could not free most of them from encroachment.
Dhaka South took up the task of removing waste from box culverts and clearing canals from January 2.
The flow of water in Jirani, Manda, Shyampur, Kamalapur, Kadamtala, Kajla, and the Shuknagar canals started to increase after they were freed from illegal occupation and waste.
The DSCC also cleared garbage from the Panthapath and Segunbagicha box culverts.
The DNCC, which got the responsibility of 14 canals, also cleaned the canals in Rupnagar, Ramchandrapur, Godagari, and Kalyanpur after the start of the drive on 4 January to recover the canals and remove waste from box culverts.
Now, most of the canals in these areas are flowing. But due to the regular generation of waste and people's dumping it in the canals, it has started accumulating in the canals again.
During a visit to a number of canals and box culverts including the Jirani, Manda, Kalyanpur and BNP canals cleaned and recovered by the city corporations, most of the waste removed from the canals is still on the banks.
Air Commodore Badrul Amin, chief waste management officer at DSCC, told TBS that the flow of water in Dhaka's canals was ruined long ago.
"As much work as we have undertaken has been completed. Waste removal is an ongoing process and it will continue. One more crash programme is needed to complete the rest of the work," he added.
Air Commodore Badrul Amin said steps will have to be taken for the construction of new canals and box culverts at Paribagh, Dholaikhal, and Khilgaon.
Noting that it is not possible to completely restore water flow this year, he said, "We can bring waterlogging to a tolerable level. We are systematically advancing the canal recovery activities. The ones that have been cleaned are being monitored regularly."
"We have so far removed about 6 lakh tons of waste. It is not possible to do it completely in such a short time. We have to work next year to remove all the waste. We are undertaking new programmes to clean canals, box culverts, drains, lakes, and switch gates," he added.
M Saidur Rahman said, "We took the initiative to streamline the canals in these three months till March after taking charge of the canals and we have been able to complete it. In some places, dirt is accumulating again and that is also being cleaned. Complete solutions are not possible if people do not behave responsibly."
"We will start work on culverts. We have already floated tenders for this work and to clean the canal pits. I hope we will be able to clean it before the onset of the monsoon. The work will be completed by next May," he added.