Tanneries now polluting Dhaleswari in Savar

Rashad Ahamad | Published: 00:08, May 26,2018 | Updated: 01:24, May 26,2018


Left, workers at Savar Tannery Industrial Park dump solid wastes in the open spaces of the park causing environmental pollution while untreated effluents from tannery Park fall into the River Dhaleshwari, polluting its water. The photos were taken recently. — Sony Ramany

The Dhaleswari River has been polluted by untreated effluents released from the Tannery Industrial Park at Savar, on the outsirt of Bangladesh's capital Dhaka, over the last one year.
It’s a new problem facing nery factories were shifted from Hazaribagh to Savar.
Locals told New Age that the modern tannery park was also polluting nearby urban and rural areas.
The modern tannery park could not solve the pollution issue for which it was established to relocate tannery factories from Hazaribagh to save the Buriganga River as well as the nearby densely populated areas.
The Dhaleswari and a number of urban and rural areas are being polluted by at least 20,000 cubic meter of untreated effluents and an unknown quantity of solid wastes released by 111 tanneries operating from the tannery park every day.
If the waters of the Dhaleswahri get polluted, the Buriganga as its distributary would also get polluted and that way too the tannery park did not serve the purpose for which it was established.
Unabated pollution caused from the tannery park defeated the very objective of establishing it spending public money, environmentalists told New Age.
They criticized the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation, as the implementing agency of the government, for its palpable failure to put in place the safety measures with which the project was designed 15
years ago.
As the tannery park authorities don’t use the needed chemicals, the Central
Effluent Treatment Plant cannot effectively treat the effluents from the 111 tannery factories, said BUET’s team of consultants overseeing whether or not the tannery park was properly built and also whether it was being run properly.
The leader of the team of consultants, BUET’s civil engineering professor Delwar Hossain told New Age that despite repeated reminders the Chinese contractors avoid using the costly chemicals.
Delwar Hossain said that the most dangerous thing was that the Chinese contractors installed a chrome separation unit but not the unit for the recovery of chrome, inhalation of which causes lung cancer and other deadly diseases.
He said water tested by BUET showed presence of 7.48 micrograms of chrome in each milliliter of water while the permissible level is two micrograms per milliliter of water.
He said that 400 mg of chemical oxygen demand, in short COD, was found at the CETP’s exit point while 200 mg is the acceptable level.
Tannery park officials said that roughly 20,000 cubic meter of liquid waste was released by the CETP into the Dhaleswari River every day.
A huge but unspecified quantity of solid waste contaminated with chromium is released into the river from time to time after a designated pond overflows.
Locals complained that the stinking pond on the southern side of the park made their life unbearable.
They complained that the tannery project workers cut the pond bank flooding the solid waste in to the river several times whenever the pond overflows.
Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association in short BELA chief executive Syeda Rizwana Hasan said that the BSCIC and the Chinese contractor did not take any measures to check the pollution even after the court ordered them to do it last year.
BELA chief executive Rizwana Hasan told New Age that the BELA would soon move the court on the issue of serious concern.
Tannery park project director Abu Bakar Siddik said that out of 155 tanneries, 111 relocated and began production at the tannery park.
Bangladesh Tanners Association chairman Md Shaheen Ahamed blamed BSCIC’s poor management for the continuous pollution. 

Want stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up to exclusive daily email