The four rivers surrounding the Dhaka city– Buriganga, Turag, Balu and Tongi canal– are being polluted with household sewage and industrial wastes at 693 points, a study by the national river conservation commission has revealed.
Referring to the study prepared through field visits, Commission Chairman Manzoor Ahmed Chowdhury said that the Buriganga is getting polluted with household sewage and industrial wastes at 258 points while the Turag at 269 points, the Balu at 104 points and Tongi canal at 62 points. Apart from these, there are other contaminating points as well.
"The responsibility of household waste management is on the city corporations while the sewage management on the Dhaka WASA. As these agencies are not performing their duties, the wastes are being dumped into the rivers along with other industrial wastes," Manzoor Ahmed said while presenting the findings of the study titled 'The Distressed Rivers of Dhaka: Problems and Way Outs' at the CIRDAP auditorium in the capital on Sunday.
Referring to a World Bank study, Manzoor Ahmed said that the estimated annual loss of environmental, health and financial impacts of river pollution is around $283 crore. The number of financial losses will reach $5,100 crore in the next 20 years if proper preventive measures are not taken immediately to address it.
He informed that activities to save the rivers surrounding Dhaka from pollution will be completed by 17 March 2023.
In his keynote presentation, National River Conservation Commission Deputy Chief (Morphology) MM Mohiuddin said that about 45 lakh kg of human excreta and solid waste of about one crore people of Dhaka is dumped into canals and water bodies without any treatment.
According to the DWASA data, it can treat only 2.245 million litres of waste which is only 20% of the total amount. But in reality, DWASA can treat wastes of only 5% area of Dhaka and directly discharge 1.5 crore litres of urine into the canals ultimately contaminating the rivers surrounding Dhaka.