Encroachment, pollution put Mayur River in peril

Encroachment, pollution put Mayur River in peril

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Khulna – Rampant encroachment and unchecked pollution have put the Mayur River, one of the freshwater rivers in Khulna, at stake destroying its freshwater resources and ecosystem. UNB news agency reported
The 22-km river flowing beside the northwestern side of Khulna city receives most of the city wastes as there is no proper drainage system. The river is obstructed by sediments as its natural tidal flow is prevented by gates at various points.
Once a storehouse of freshwater fish, the water of this river used to be used for agriculture but unplanned urbanisation and unchecked disposal of wastes severely polluted it making its water unusable, locals said.
The dissolved oxygen (DO) level in the river is falling day by day due to indiscriminate release of wastes into its water.
According to the Environment Conservation Rules, 1997, the DO level must be at least 5 parts per million (ppm) in water to support life. But, the data of the Department of Environment (DoE), Khulna, shows that the DO level has now declined to 2 ppm in the Mayur water.
DoE senior chemist Kamruzzaman Sarkar also recognized that the DO level in the river is decreasing gradually, as it was 1.1 ppm in January last while 1.3 ppm in February last.
Under the circumstance, he said, the Mayur River could be declared biologically dead.
Official data show that the DO level in the river water was 0.5 ppm in March of 2016 while 0.8 ppm in May and June, 2.1 ppm in July, 2.5 in August, 2.8 ppm in September and 2.9 ppm in October.
A senior official at Khulna DoE said wastes are being released into the river through some 26 drains of Khulna City Corporation (KCC), polluting its water.
If the trend of waste disposal continues here, he said, the Mayur will soon be a dead river like Buriganga, Sitalakkhya and Turag.
Citing the findings of his research, Tusher Kanti Roy, an associate professor at Khulna University of Engineering and Technology (Kuet), said since a sluice gate was set up in Pashur River, the Mayur is experiencing water-logging, intensifying its water pollution.
A recent study tilted ‘Savings Mayur River and its Connected Canals of Khulna City’ reveals that over one-third of 1.5 million city dwellers are directly exposed to the water-logging problem affecting their normal life and economic activities. About 80 percent of the roads of the city go under knee-to-waist-deep water when there is moderate to heavy rainfall.
Mayur’s geomorphology has changed significantly in recent time. Another study identified the changes in Mayur sub-basin during 1977-2009.
Urbanisation is the dominant type of change in this landscape at this time and the conversion of land use occurs from agricultural land to settlements. With the expansion in urban areas, the river is very likely to dry up which is obvious from changes in its channel geometry.
KCC chief planning officer Abir Ul Jabbar said the city corporation has taken a five-year project involving Tk 800 crore to save the Mayur River, but it has been facing difficulties in implementation due to pressure from a vested quarter.

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