Monday, July 15, 2024

Tk 21cr goes down rivers

Buriganga-Turag Cleaning Project
Tk 21cr goes down rivers
Contamination remains as grave as ever due to failure in plugging pollution sources
Pinaki Roy
Though the government has already spent over Tk 21 crore on its much-hyped Buriganga-Turag River Cleaning Project, the rivers remain contaminated with toxic wastes, as the pollution sources could not be plugged.
In recent water quality tests, the Department of Environment found the amount of dissolved oxygen, which determines the degree of pollution, is still too low for aquatic lives to survive in the Buriganga.
“The water quality is not good yet because we couldn’t stop the sources of liquid waste,” said Abdus Sobhan, deputy director general of DoE.
Hazaribagh tanneries are still there, he said adding that excreta of millions of city dwellers are still emptying into the rivers through Wasa storm sewers every day.
With the river pollution continuing unabated, the dependence on groundwater grows.
Around 85 percent of the city’s water demand is met from below the ground, as most of the surface water is contaminated. This heavy reliance on groundwater causes the water table to lower three to four metres a year, said sources in Dhaka Water and Sewerage Authority (Wasa).
It was to solve this scarcity of safe surface water the government undertook the Buriganga-Turag River Cleaning Project.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority began implementing the first phase of the project in May last year, and has already spent over Tk 21 crore.
BIWTA was supposed to clean three kilometres of the Buriganga from Babubazar to Kamrangirchar and one kilometre of the Turag in Tongi.
It is spending Tk 285 to dredge and grab per cubic metre of garbage from the riverbed and more than that to collect the floating and solid waste from the riverbank.
“We know the project is not yielding satisfying results. And that’s why we are going slower now,” said a BIWTA official requesting anonymity.
Asked then why they are spending public money, the official replied, “Tk 21.5 crore has already been allocated for this project. So we are just continuing with the work.”
According to the project proposal, the riverbeds in the capital are clogged with thick layers of polythene, coconut shells, plastic, mud and bricks.
Two metres from the edge of the riverbeds and one metre from the middle need to be excavated, says the project proposal, which was funded from the climate change trust funds generated by government revenue.
In December last year, the DoE collected samples from five different points along the Buriganga for determining the quality of the river water.
Laboratory analysis of the samples shows that presence of dissolved oxygen was between 0.50-0.84 mgs per litre (mg/L), while standard surface water is 5 mg/L in Bangladesh.
Besides, pH, a measure of the acidity, was identified to be between 7 and 7.5.
The standard DO requirement for fish and other aquatic lives is 5 mg/L and pH requirement is 6.5 as per the set standard in Bangladesh.
Earlier, researchers from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) found that oxygen levels were 0.7 and 0.25 at Chadnighat point, 0.27 and 0.63 in Norai near Trimohini, and 0.27 and 0.63 in the Turag at Tongi before and after the monsoon respectively.
A three-year research finds that some invertebrates and small organisms come to life in these rivers when water flow increases in the rains. But these life forms disappear in the dry season, the researchers add.
The Institute of Water Modelling (IWM) and the World Bank conducted a survey of pollution in Dhaka rivers in 2007 that showed there are over 300 various effluent discharge outlets in the capital and Narayanganj.
Of these, 19 outlets carry mixed flows of industrial and household waste into the rivers around the capital.
The study also observed that the groundwater system is being contaminated more in areas where aquifers are recharged from the riverbeds.
Over 300 major industrial units are still dumping their liquid waste into the rivers, say DoE officials.
Things have not changed much despite DoE drives against pollution. The environmental watchdog has so far fined over 100 industries for not installing Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP), which is mandatory as per the law.
DoE Deputy Director General Sobhan, also a member of the project’s monitoring committee, suggests continuing with the project. He said, “If they remove one cubic metre of garbage from the river, space for one cubic metre of water will increase.”
Besides, he added, measures should be taken to stop dumping of human excreta into the rivers.

Image (above) caption: People wash dishes in pitch-black water of the Turag to the west of Tongi Bridge in Dhaka while a government drive to remove sludge from the riverbed continues, hardly achieving anything as the sources of pollution have not been stopped. Photo: Anisur Rahman

Courtesy of The Daily Star

Related News

Eid-ul-Azha on June 17

News Desk : The holy Eid-ul-Azha will be celebrated in Bangladesh on June 17 (Monday) as the crescent moon of the Zilhaj month was sighted in Bangladesh’s sky on Friday evening (7 June). The National Moon Sighting Committee came up with the decision after reviewing information about the sighting of the moon at a ... Read more

Cyclone Remal: 40 dead animals found, 17 rescued hurt in Sundarbans

News Desk : The forest department officials on Tuesday said that so far they found 39 dead deer and a pig in the Sundarbans after the severe cyclone Remal that hit the forest on Sunday. Primarily they have estimated infrastructural damage of Tk 6.27 crore in the forest while the total damage, including animals ... Read more

Cyclone Remal claims at least 14 lives, affects nearly 37.58 lakh people in 19 districts

News Desk : Following its devastating impact into Bangladesh on Sunday night, Cyclone Remal has affected over 37.58 lakh people in 19 districts and taken at least 14 lives. While the cyclone has weakened into a deep depression, hundreds of villages in the southern parts of the country remain submerged. The Bangladesh Meteorological Department ... Read more

Alert issued as Cyclone Remal develops

News Desk : A weather alert has been issued by the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) as a low-pressure system in the southwest and west central Bay of Bengal gains strength, potentially developing into Cyclone Remal by Saturday. The system, currently moving northeastward, is expected to transform into a depression by early Friday. By Saturday, ... Read more

Cyclone ‘Remal’ likely to hit Bangladesh coasts on 26 May: Meteorologist

News Desk : Cyclone Remal is likely to make landfall between 6:00am and 12:00pm on 26 May in Bangladesh, affecting coastal areas from the Barguna in Barishal Division to Cox’s Bazar in the Chattogram Division, a meteorologist said today (21 May). The front of the cyclone may begin to enter coastal areas after 6:00am, ... Read more

5 consecutive days holiday for Eid-ul-Adha

News Desk : Government employees are scheduled to get five consecutive days off on Eid-ul-Azha. This includes two days of weekly holidays (Friday and Saturday) followed by another three days for Eid, according to government holiday list. Eid-ul-Azha is likely to be celebrated on June 17 this year.

Heavy rains, storms forecast for entire week

Schools open today after heatwave closures News Desk : The Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) forecasts heavy rainfall with thunderstorms across the country this week, starting on Tuesday and lasting through Saturday. As per the analysis of mathematical model of rainfall index, Bangladesh is likely to witness heavy to very heavy rainfall with thunderstorms starting ... Read more

Waiting for the rain

Tawsia Tajmim As the sun blazes relentlessly, desperate craving rises for rain, for nothing soothes Mother Nature quite like its cool embrace. After a brutal month-long heatwave, residents of Chattogram, Sylhet, and Dhaka finally caught a break with some rain on 2 May. However, the downpour was not strong enough to completely wash away the ... Read more

Hajj registration extended till Jan 18

News Desk : The government, in a notice issued yesterday, extended the Hajj registration deadline for 2024 until January 18. It said aspiring Hajis would have to primarily deposit Tk 2.05 lakh, while the rest should be paid by February 29 for final registration. One has to pay Tk 5,78,840 under the general package, ... Read more

Dense fog disrupts communications across Bangladesh

News Desk : Cold and dense fog continued to disrupt life with road, air and waterways communication remaining suspended in the early hours of Tuesday as Bangladesh braces for this winter’s first cold wave likely to set in today. Authorities also confirmed until Tuesday the death of 14 people in cold-related diseases and road ... Read more

27,000 GPA 5 achievers not to get seat in public universities

Shahin Akhter Over 27,000 GPA 5 achievers in this year’s HSC and equivalent examinations cannot be admitted to the public universities due to fewer seats. A total of 92,595 examinees secured GPA 5 out of total 10,67,852 passed in the Higher Secondary Certificate examinations this year. But there are around 65,400 seats at the public ... Read more

Magnitude 5.5 earthquake jolts Dhaka, other parts of Bangladesh

News Desk : A magnitude 5.5 earthquake struck Bangladesh this morning, the United States Geological Survey said, with no immediate reports of damage. The earthquake jolted different parts of the country including Dhaka around in Ramganj of Cumilla at 9:35am, reports The Daily Star quoting Meteorologist Rubayet Kabir of Bangladesh Meteorological Department. The quake ... Read more

250cc Bajaj Pulsar N250 launched in Bangladesh

News Desk : Uttara Motors, the manufacturer and distributor of Bajaj motorcycles in Bangladesh, has recently launched The Pulsar N250 motorcycle. Pulsar N250 comes with a price tag of Tk339,999 and is available in three different colours. The motorcycle with a 250 cc oil-cooled engine has got dual channel antilock braking system (ABS). Indian ... Read more

HSC, equivalent exam results tomorrow

News Desk : The results of this year’s Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and its equivalent examinations will be published tomorrow. The copy of the results will be handed over to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina tomorrow morning. Later in the day, the results will be officially announced by Education Minister Dipu Moni at a press ... Read more

Gold hits record with a bhori of Tk 106,376

News Desk : The jewelry makers of the country has increased 22-carat gold price by Tk 1,750 today. Tomorrow, the price of 22-carat gold will reach a historic high of Tk 106,376 per bhori. The new price is 1.67 percent higher than the previous all-time high of Tk 104,626 per bhori (11.664 grammes) recorded ... Read more

Gold’s price reaches a new peak

News Desk : Gold price in the country has surged to a record Tk1.04 lakh per bhori due to a rise in the rates of pure gold in the local market. The price of the best quality gold or one bar of 22-carat (11.664 grams) gold has been increased by Tk 1,750 to Tk104,626 ... Read more

Bangladesh permits 375cc domestically produced motorcycles

News Desk : Bangladesh government has allowed locally made motorcycles of up to 375cc along with the existing imported motorcycles of up to 165cc to facilitate the expansion of the local industrial sector. The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, under the road transport and bridges ministry, on Wednesday issued a circular in this regard. It ... Read more

Four-day tourism festival begins in Dhaka

News Desk : A four-day long festival to boost local tourism will be launched on September 27 in Dhaka to celebrate World Tourism Day 2023. The Bangladesh Tourism Board under the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism will organise the festival titled ‘Bangladesh Festival’ at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. The festival will be ... Read more

Bangladesh Railway launches luggage vans with intercity trains

News Desk : To significantly increase the supply of perishable items, agricultural and other goods, Bangladesh Railway (BR) combined luggage vans with intercity trains on Sunday. The first van was combined with Sylhet bound intercity train “Joyantika Express”. Jayantika Express transported 4,600 kg of goods from Dhaka to Sylhet as Bangladesh Railway’s first intercity ... Read more

Bangabandhu Tunnel: Government sets toll ranging from Tk200 to Tk1,000

News Desk : The government has set toll rates for using the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel built under the Karnaphuli River in Chattogram, ranging from 200 Tk for cars to 1,000 Tk for 4-axle trailers, which is slated for inauguration in September. The Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges issued a circular in ... Read more