Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology professor and also Tannery Industrial Park consultation team leader Delwar Hossain said that the river Dhaleswari was getting polluted at upstream by many other offenders while the tanneries have now only intensified pollution.
He said that BUET test found 7.62 pH in dissolved water collected at 1,500 meter upstream of the river in May when BOD was 17.6 and COD was 46 milligrams per litter, which was harmful.
He said that it was not true that only tanneries were polluting the Dhaleswari, rather it intensified pollution for various reasons.
On reasons for which tanneries made pollution worse, Delwar said that lack of solid waste management at Tannery Industrial Park and mismanagement of the under construction Central Effluent Treatment Plant were to be primarily blamed.
He said that the tanneries produced 80 to 100 tonnes solid waste from 123 industries out of 154 that started production there after relocating from Hazaribagh in the capital.
A total of 150 to 200 tonnes solid waste are being generated daily during peak time at the park.
Delwar said that tannery workers were discharging chromium-laden water into the general effluent pipeline and using excessive amount of water in tanning rawhide causing water pollution at the river Dhaleswari.
Moreover, he said, the CETP for Savar tanneries exceeded its capacity too.
The CETP planned to treat 25,000 cubic metre of effluents daily but the tanneries produce a maximum of 38,000 cms a day — far exceeding the capacity envisaged by all.
He suggested that the government extend the capacity of the CETP for treating the entire quantity of waste produced at the park or set up a separate CETP.
The expert said that the treatment plant construction was now being delayed due to bureaucratic complexity as a huge consignment of chemical and machinery were stuck at the port.
Delwar hoped that after they were able to set up the CETP that would use chemical, the scenario would improve and the plant would begin to function better. Pollution would be reduced, he said with conviction.
He said that for the lack of machinery, the chromium produced from tanneries were separated but not recovered.
We would find a way out once a new mechanism for solid waste management is installed,’ he said and hoped to get his hands on it soon.
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