Save rivers for water security, biodiversity: Environmentalists

Staff Correspondent | Published: 01:17, Mar 23,2021


Green activists and academics at a discussion on Monday asked the government to take pragmatic actions to save the rivers across the country for ensuring water safety and biodiversity.

They said that river water was getting polluted very rapidly for industrial and household pollutants, putting millions of people at risks of health hazards.

Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon, Jatio Nodi Rokhsya Andolon, National River Alliance, Coalition for the Urban Poor and Waterkeepers Bangladesh jointly organised the virtual discussion marking World Water Day 2021.

BAPA president Sultana Kamal said that people are the owner of natural resources of the country according to the constitution but the government takes decisions regarding natural resources without consulting with people.

She said that most of the rivers of the country got polluted due to the lack of enforcement of the law.

‘Law is not enforced for all equally,’ she said.

Former chairman of the National River Conservation Commission Muzibur Rahman Howlader said that a total of 776 rivers were identified in all 64 districts of the country.

A total of 18,782 grabbers were evicted out of 63,249 grabbers from the rivers but over 70 per cent of grabbers remained untouched, he said.

BAPA vice-president and Bangladesh Environment Network founder Nazrul Islam said that the government used to make plans and do contracts regarding rivers and water without consulting with people.

BAPA general secretary Sharif Jamil asked the government to save the rivers of the country for ensuring water safety and biodiversity.

He said that the overall water flow and water quality of the rivers are in a dangerous position due to pollution, grabbing and the withdrawal of water from transboundary rivers reached an acute stage.

Water expert and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology’s civil engineering department former dean Feroze Ahmed said that the groundwater level was gradually decreasing for the lack of water in rivers.

‘Stop pollution and dig rivers to restore carrying capacity and flow,’ he said.

The NRCC member Sharmeen Murshid said that the river commission was losing its enthusiasm to protect the rivers.

BAPA executive vice-president Mohammad Abdul Matin said that groundwater level was getting contaminated for wastes and insecticides.

Coalition for Urban Poor chairman Dibalok Singha, River and Delta Research Centre chairman Mohammad Azaz and Adibashi leader Sanjeeb Drong among others spoke.

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