IF IT were not a place near Sangsad Bhaban, the national pride and prestige, the gorgeous building par excellence in the architectural arena, it would be out of place to write an article to say that people are defiling road sides and walkways of the city 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Although we are better poised than our neighbouring country India that has an incidence of 26 per cent open defecation rate as reported by the World Bank in 2017, Bangladesh has almost 0 per cent rate in this respect. But judged from the consideration of urinating in open places in cities, Dhaka may be the top performer from the bottom.
People are always found discharging urine facing walls or small bushes. The bends of a road, unoccupied places near important public installations, premises of bus stations and the like are the worst affected in this respect. This is taken for granted that city footpaths which are less trodden may be giving you the sight of urine rolling from corner to corner. Sometimes, the filthy watery substance comes rolling up to the main road where vehicles move. But who has ever thought of this nuisance to have been occurring for years together at the elbow of the august parliament building?
There is a beautiful raised footpath to the south of Sangsad Bhaban, the national assembly building. Many organisations hold cultural programmes to celebrate important occasions throughout the year. Concerts were held here many times in the past as part of nationally important programmes to celebrate important national days. On both sides of this raised footpath, there stand a number of ‘bakul’ trees with a brick-built girdle around each of them. In the afternoons and evenings, people come to sit on the footpath and the girdles of the trees to enjoy their time in the close vicinity of the parliament building and its beautiful gardens. A walkway passes before the footpath and before the ‘bakul’ trees connecting the Mirpur Road and the Farmgate area, just along Manik Mia Avenue. It is at both ends of the walkway, the abominable and nasty environmental pollution is done.
If anyone starts from the Mirpur Road bend opposite Aarong Centre and walks on foot towards the east, a few steps will take him to the ‘bakul’ orchard and to one of the obnoxious twin-places Dhaka has ever to hold before its citizens. An unwanted discharge of urine is done in the corner of the brick-built footpath adjacent the grassy flower garden of the parliament building. There were hardly any people ever found who have not held their nose. All passers-by have to cross the area tiptoeing over the stream of urine coming down up to the spacious Manik Mia Avenue. The same, or even worse, is the scenario with the eastern corner of the walkway.
Is there no solution to this? Can we not construct a modern toilet facility underground the footpath area that will not impede the view of the parliament building? Since we have provided a place of gathering and getting together for ordinary people for whom there are small number of sites to visit, we should keep this important place free from environmental pollution. Bragging that we are a good nation will not always do unless we show it by example. We should at least stop the environmental pollution done at the sight of our lawmakers, many of whom are found to be on their morning walk along the walkway.
Gazi Mizanur Rahman, a former civil servant, is a writer.
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