Pollution from Savar tannery park to multiply after Eid

Nowadays, roughly 12,000 cubic metre of untreated effluents from 67 tannery factories at the tannery park at Savar is dumped into the Dhaleswari River every day.
The river is getting increasingly polluted as the tannery factories were shifted to Savar beginning last year even before the central effluent treatment plant and other related facilities were fully installed at the Tannery Industrial Park.
The tannery parks consultants BUET said that the Chinese contractors who built the park were not operating the CETP for which untreated effluents was being released into the river.
The team leader of the consultants, BUET’s professor Delwar Hossain told New Age that 75 to 80per cent of the effluents were treated by the CETP while the rest was being released into the river without treating it.
He said that the problem arose as only two out of four modules of the CETP had been commissioned which are operated for five hours at the most though the contract requires operating the CETP round the clock.
The High Court Division on Wednesday summoned the Chinese CETP contractor Jiangsu Lingzhi Environmental Protection Co Ltd and its Bangladesh agent following allegations that untreated tannery effluents were being released into the Dhaleswari River and asked them to explain their failure.

The Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, better known as Bela in a public interest writ petition brought the issue to the court’s notice.
Bela called it a matter of concern that untreated effluent disposal into the Dhaleswari River would increase on the occasion of Eid-ul Azha due to be celebrated barely 11 or 12 days later.
The problem became acute also due to the authorities’ failure to install a common chrome recovery unit, a sewage treatment plant and a solid waste management plant though deadline was extended time and again, revealed the progress report submitted by BSCIC relating to implementation of project.
Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation is the project implementation agency.
BELA chief executive Syeda Rizwana Hasan called it a matter of concern that the very objective of shifting tannery factories to Savar had been defeated due to failure to release properly treated tannery effluents.
She said that when the tanneries were located at Hazaribagh they polluted the Buriganga River and now they were polluting the Dhaleswari River from Savar.
She said that the huge expenditure incurred for shifting the tanneries became meaningless.
‘We will continue legal fight,’ she said, ‘being concerned over the Dhaleswari getting polluted.’
The inhabitants of Harindhara and Jhawchar, two villages adjacent to the tanner park expressed fears that the Dhaleswari pollution would increase after Eid-ul-Azha when processing of hides and skin of sacrificial animals would increase manifold.
The aggrieved villagers said that they were feeling increasingly concerned over the health hazards being caused to the public and also over the threat to fish and other aquatic life posed by the polluted water of the Dhaleswari River.
Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters Association chairman Mohiuddin Ahmed Mahin said around 11 million rawhides would be processed after the Eid.
He said the tanneries were forced to relocate before fully installing the CETP and the related facilities.
Delwar Hossain expressed fears that increasing pollution would affect the areas around the tannery park unless the issues were addressed with due seriousness and speed.
Already, he said, releasing of untreated effluent into the river increased from 5,000 cubic metre to 12,000 cubic metre per day in less than two months.
Environmentalists said that BELA took the issue to the court finding the Department of Environment reluctant to take any action to stop Dhaleswari from getting polluted.
Industries ministry secretary Muhammad Abdullah said that solid waste management plant, sewage treatment plant and common chrome recovery unit would be installed soon.
He said that two remaining modules of the CETP would be commissioned before August 25.
The Dhaka North City Corporation did not agree to lift solid waste from the tannery park and dump it at Amin Bazaar Landfill as the BSCIC wants.
Now the solid waste is dumped in a pond on the southern side of the park for which life of local people became unbearable due to its foul smell.
In 2003, the government took the Tk 1078.71crore project for relocating the tanneries from Hazaribagh to Savar.
The project cost included Tk 477 crore for setting the CETP and a dumping yard.

Source: New Age

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