Blaming the government for its lack of political commitment to save the country’s rivers, green activists here on Wednesday said the highly polluted rivers surrounding Dhaka city could be revived within five years if proper steps are taken.“The government must show political commitment towards protecting rivers. If the government wants, the dying and polluted rivers, including the Turag and Buriganga, could be revived within five years,” water expert Engr Inamul Huq told a press conference.
Bangladesh Nodi Bachao Andolan (BANA), an environmental organisation, organised the press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) ahead of a human chain programme to be formed on Turag banks on December 26 next, aiming to mobilise public opinion to save the river.
He said political parties must come up with specific election manifestos before the national election that if they are voted to power, they will revive the Buriganga and Turag within a timeframe.
Inamul Huq, who has a long professional expertise in water sector, said local public representatives must be given the authority to file cases against polluters to realise compensation from them for polluting the environment.
“Local representatives must have the power to file cases against polluters all around the world. In Bangladesh, only the Department of Environment has the jurisdiction only to file cases in this regard,” he added.
BANA president Prof Anwar Sadat said once Turag had freshwater, but now most parts it have gone to grabbers’ grip while its water has got highly polluted because of rampant disposal of wastes into it.
Reading out a written statement, BANA general secretary Adv Anwar Hossain said BANA along with other environmental organisations will form a 71-km human chain programme at 15 points on the banks of Turag to put pressure on the government to take necessary steps to save the river from unchecked pollution and grabbing.