It is most alarming to learn about the rivers Menikhali and Ashiarchar of Sonargaon upazila in Narayanganj, being polluted by industrial waste.
According to a Prothom Alo report on Monday, for quite a few years now various industrial units of the Meghna ghat industrial area and the Chaiti composite factory in Tripurdi of Sonargaon, have been dumping their toxic waste into both these rivers. It is almost impossible to walk by these rivers due to the foul stench. Fish die and float up to the rivers’ surface almost every day. The water cannot be used for household purposes by the nearby villages and those using the river water contact various skin diseases and other ailments. The farmers have been unable to irrigate their rice fields with the river water too for the last few years.
The inhabitants of the villages by these two rivers have long been demanding a halt to this pollution. They have held demonstrations, human chain programmes and rallies and have also appealed to the department of environment as well as the upazila administration, but to no avail. Neither the department of environment nor the upazila administration is bothered about the people’s sufferings. If they were concerned, they would have taken measures to prevent this pollution long ago. This is most unfortunate.
The other rivers of the country are equally polluted with similar industrial waste. Rivers around Dhaka like Buriganga, Sitalakhya, Balu and Turag are not only polluted but also being encroached upon illegally. Dumping chemical effluents and toxic waste has taken the pollution of these rivers to a dangerous level. Similarly Brahmaputra, Rupsha, Bhairab, Mayur and innumerable rivers are dying due to pollution. This pollution is affecting public health and the environment too.
Stern action must be taken against the factories responsible for this pollution. There is no alternative but to free the rivers of pollution and unlawful occupation.