The water of the river Buriganga has turned into a mass of sludge, prompting visitors to wear masks to avoid intoxication while examining it.
The Asia Regional Coordinator of the New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance Charles Depman visited the river Buriganga yesterday along with members of its local partner, Buriganga Riverkeeper, to assess the water condition of the lifeline of Dhaka.
“I have never seen such a polluted river, the water looks lifeless and toxic, emitting a strong stench in the area,” Depman, who wore a gas mask to avoid intoxication from the river water, told The Daily Star.
“Because Bangladesh is a country of rivers I am going to propose to Waterkeeper Alliance in New York for more focus on this part of the world for protection of its rivers,” Depman added.
Sharif Jamil, member of the Buriganga Riverkeeper and also joint secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Banchao Andolan (BAPA), said a massive campaign is required to save the river from extinction.
During the dry season between October and April the river becomes totally stagnant with its upstream drying up and cutting off its link with the Jamuna. During the seven-month long stagnancy of the river, billions of gallons of toxic wastes from the city industries, mainly tanneries, accumulate in its water, turning the entire 54 kilometer stretch of the river into a septic tank.
For years the government has vowed to fight encroachment and pollution of the rivers around the city, but nothing or little so far has been done to address the problems.
Source: The Daily Star