Future of rivers hangs in balance


Monday, 29 September 2014

Experts said rampant pollution and unplanned construction of culverts,
bridges, sluice gates and regulators have hastened the death of many
waterbodies of the country by interrupting their natural flows. They
highlighted the immediate threats to the country’s rivers and canals,
and suggested the ways to preserve them, on the occasion of
International Rivers Day.

The experts blamed the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), local
government and rural development (LGRD) department and the local
government and engineering (LGED) department for such unplanned
construction. They said pollution by unplanned industries operating
without effluent treatment plants (ETP), as well as siltation, are the
other reasons for the death of the country’s streams and canals.
government hasn’t considered the fate of the rivers in the last 67
years while taking up big development projects. Such projects have
always been prepared by officials unaware of the value of our rivers,”
MA Motin, general secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan (BAPA), told
The Independent yesterday.
He said a number of projects taken up by
the BWDB, such as flood control embankment, irrigation projects, sluice
gates, regulators and permanent construction along river banks have made
irreparable damages to the rivers. “Culverts and bridges must be
constructed by taking into account of the width of rivers and canals.
But our engineers simply construct such bridges and culverts by filling
up the banks of the rivers to narrow its width, thereby interrupting the
natural flow,” he added.
He also said that the government has to change its attitude regarding rivers.
rivers are threatened because their connections with canals and streams
have been cut off. We demand that the rivers should be re-linked with
canals and streams through reconstruction of culverts and low small
bridges,” Abu Naser Khan, chairman of Paribesh Bachao Andalon (POBA),
The green activist threatened that they would launch an intensive movement against the authorities concerned in this regard.
LGED, LGRD, BWDB and factory owners are responsible for killing the
country’s rivers. The authorities concerned are involved in construction
of culverts, instead of bridges and installing pipes,” he added.
expert Emdadul Haque, director of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport
Authority (BIWTA), said most of the rivers had died due to unplanned
construction by the LGED and construction of dams by India in the
At least 117 Bangladesh rivers have disappeared due to
disruptions in their water flows in the upstream and unplanned
constructions in the country.
According to a survey by the
Netherlands Engineering Consultants (NEDECO) of Netherlands, carried out
between 1965 and 1967, about 310 large and small rivers were flowing
across the country. Of them, 117 have perished, but the existence of
others is  under threat due to obstructions and withdrawal of water in
their upper reaches.