Speakers at a discussion yesterday urged the government to declare Halda, one of the world’s major natural sweet water fish breeding spots, as the national river of Bangladesh.
They also demanded to stop any construction that hinders flow of the river water and find out alternative source for irrigation in order to check pollution of the river.
“Halda is now in a very bad state due to industrial pollution, construction of rubber dams and sluice gates, straightening of its bends, destruction of mother fishes and sand lifting,” they said.
The speakers came up with the demand while addressing a discussion titled “Present condition of Halda River and our duties”, held at Chittagong Press Club (CPC) auditorium.
Halda River Protection Committee arranged the discussion with East Delta University vice chancellor (VC) Prof Dr Mohammad Sekandar Khan in the chair.
The committee also accorded reception to Deputy Commissioner of Chittagong Mejbah Uddin and General Secretary of the Chittagong Union of Journalists (CUJ) Mohammad Ali for their roles in protecting the endangered river.
Committee president Prof. Manzoorul Kibria, also a teacher of Chittagong University Zoology department carrying out research on the Halda fish spawning centre for over a decade, presented keynote paper at the meeting.
Addressing the discussion, other speakers said the river is now in a bad shape with many government and non-government organisations including tanneries and power plants polluting its water.
Terming the river as the lifeline of Chittagong, they said it is urgent to make specific recommendations after determining what to do to save the river.
The speakers also called for raising awareness among the people of stopping pollution of Halda.
Chittagong University VC Prof Dr Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury addressed the discussion as the chief guest while former CPC president Abu Sufian, president of Chittagong Television Journalist Association Shamsul Hoque Haidary and CPC joint secretary Chowdhury Farid, among others, spoke.