April 19, 2024, 2:00 am

Tannery gone, river pollution still goes on unabated

  • Update Time : Monday, October 26, 2020
  • 330 Time View
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HC directives are yet to implement

Rehennuma Tarannum:

The Buriganga and Dhaleshwari river have not yet been got rid from the curse of pollution and illegal grabbers, even after shifting of the tanneries to Savar from Dhaka’s Hazaribagh area with a view to prevent unbridled pollution.

Not only that the directives of the High Court are yet to implement to keep the flow of the rivers smooth and uninterrupted.

Environmentalists said, the directive of the High Court over tannery shifting was not completed cent percent due to lack of proper monitoring by the authorities concerned.

As a result, the river pollution goes on destroying the natural balance and environment that putting a negative impact on the life of city dwellers.

In the same time, the residents, living surrounding the rivers, are not getting appropriate benefits, even after removal of tannery industries from the city’s Hazaribagh due to continuous pollution from unplanned dumping of industrial and residential wastes of the both city corporations.

Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Chief Executive of the Environmental Lawyers Association said, “Shifting of tannery industries from Hazaribagh to safer distance was a long cherished demand of city dwellers to get rid from pollution. Though, the tanneries have been shifted to Savar after carrying of various movements for over three decades, city dwellers didn’t get remedy as pollution and grabbing are still going on unabated.”

“The central solid waste management system for leather processing has not yet been run completely in the Savar tannery industry zone. Road and other infrastructures have not yet been developed in that newly established tannery industry area. Consequently, the waste from tannery industries is mixing with the river water causing further pollution,” she added.

The water of Dhaleshwari and Buriganga is still black as the court’s directives have not yet been implemented completely, locals complained.

Amit Talukder, a pro-government lawyer said, “The High Court issued order for relocation of tannery industry to Savar from Dhaka’s Hazaribagh in 2001, also 19 years ago. But, both the government and the tannery owners took a long time to implement the order.”

On June 23 in 2009, the High Court re-ordered the transfer. The court was contemptuous for non-compliance with the order. The government takes many times. After a long legal battle, BSCIC’s hide and skin industrial city was launched at Hemayetpur of Savar in 2018 from Hazaribagh.

But now, the reality is, there are huge piles of rubbish and garbage at many places in the leather industrial zone built on 200 acres of land under supervision of BSCIC. Due to huge mismanagement and irregularities of BSCIC authorities concerned, waste from 155 tanneries of the industrial city is still going to the river in combination of rain water.

In the meantime, 133 leather industries have already gone on production and are carrying sale and supply activities of their leather products.

However, there has remained infrastructural deficit. Waste is lying here and there, and in and out of the tannery industries for want of proper management and treatment plants. Tannery waste almost overflows the illegal dumping yards, especially during the Eid-ul-Azha following the huge appearance of raw hides of sacrificial animals.

Though, there is a Central Environmental Treatment Plant (CETP) in the leather industrial city, the waste is not being treated there properly. Consequently, the contaminated water of CETP is still reaching to the Dhaleshwari and other water-bodies including Buriganga river after mixing with flood or rain water during the monsoon.

Though, the project director claimed that, three permanent dumping yards have been set up to address the crisis, the misery has not gone away so far due to various complexities.

Seeking anonymity, an engineer involved with the project said, “The newly established tannery industry of Hemayetpur in Savar is now at a dire state due to lack of proper monitoring and patronization. The lamp of great possibility seems to have gone out again centering the negligence of the authorities concerned.”

He further said, “There was a small hole of 50 square feet for dumping of tannery waste. Now, it has turned into a larger size due to lack of maintenance. Besides, the dumping yard was built illegally without any proper plan. There was no existence of the dumping yard in the main design. However, it was built and solid waste is still being dumped in the yard putting the whole water-bodies including Dhaleswhari and Buriganga river located surrounding the capital at risk.”

“The yard was closed for around four months in impact of corona. But, it was re-launched ahead of Eid-ul-Azha last.  The state of CETP is the same. All modules are running. But the waste is not being treated completely. These wastes are going to Dhaleshwari and other water-bodies with the rain water,” he added.

The engineer also said, “The CETP is not completely operational. Untreated waste is being discharged from it and going to river. It is increasing the pollution of river water. Though, the authorities concerned conducted various drives several times to evict the illegal structures established on the both banks of the rivers, the influential encroachers come back to the previous places soon after the drives.

While contacted, Engineer Jitendranath Pal, Director of the ongoing project in the tennery industrial zone declined the allegation and said, “The waste is not staying in the dumping yard for long time. The pollution of Dhaleshwari and other water-bodies has come down compared to the previous perioed.”

He further said, “More than 150 leather processing industries have been shifted to Savar so far. Of them, some 115 industries are carrying out raw hide processing activities in the preliminary stage. Workers are not using the necessary nets to stop waste from spread out. As a result, the amount of leather waste is increasing day by day and the pieces of such leather waste are falling into the drain, which is finally mixing with the liquid and spread on the streets and other places.”

“Besides, the salt separation machines used in leather processing have not yet been installed as per need. Though, four CETP are now under process of operation, the operational modules have no capacity to treat more than 25,000 cubic meters of liquid waste,” he added.

Shahin Ahmed, a leader of the Bangladesh Tanners Association said, “The poor drainage system built with low diameter pipes is the main hindrance for removal of the waste perfectly to the right path. Waste mixed water is causing pollution in Dhaleshwari and other neighboring rivers causing destruction of the natural biodiversity.”

Advocate Manzil Morshed, Chairman of Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh, a long-running human rights and environmental organization said, “The government and tannery owners have negligence in enforcing the High Court directives. The usefulness of preventing environmental pollution from the leather industry has not yet been achieved. Although the pollution of Buriganga has decreased a little bit, the pollution of Dhaleshwari has started anew. If the order of the High Court is not effective cent percent, the pollution of the rivers and the environment will not be reduced.”

Besides, the government should continue the drives against the illegal grabbers to protect the rivers, experts opined.


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