A parliamentary watchdog has come down heavily on the Ministry of Industries for its "intentional" delay in shutting down non-compliant tanners that have inadequate facilities to treat their waste.
"The industries ministry is dilly-dallying to seal off the factories at the tannery estate in Savar, which are polluting the environment with their waste," Saber Hossain Chowdhury, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, said at a meeting on Thursday.
He urged the ministry to close the errant factories in the industrial hub without any delay.
The tannery estate has a capacity to treat around 25,000 cubic metres of liquid waste every day, but tanners there produce as much as 40,000 cubic metres of liquid waste, according to the parliamentary body.
On 23 August last year, it suggested that the authorities shut down the tanneries that did not have adequate facilities to treat all liquid as well as solid wastes.
The Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation under the Ministry of Industries undertook the project in 2003 to build the Tannery Industrial Estate at Hemayetpur of Savar with an aim to accommodate all the tanneries of the capital's Hazaribagh and save the River Buriganga from tannery waste contamination.
Finally, in 2017, all the tanneries were shifted to Savar, on the outskirts of the capital, before the project was completed.
The objective of the project fell flat as the tannery waste, which used to contaminate the Buriganga River, began to pollute the Dhaleshwari River and the environment of Savar in general.