60 percent industrial waste thrown in rivers every day
Golam Mostafa: Country’s economy can save about Tk 1,350 crore per year, if the major rivers are brought under navigability by proper dredging as goods transportation cost through the waterways is cheaper than the roads and railways.
At the same time, it will also help to earn additional Tk 1,197 crore from the agricultural sector and Tk 3.70 lakh from fisheries sector, a survey report revealed. The report produced by the concerned ministry said, crores of Taka is being poured in the rivers each year in the name of dredging to keep the waterways smooth for water transports. But, no fruitful result is coming even after running of the projects year after year due to lack of proper monitoring by the authorities concerned.
If the dredging works are done properly and projects are completed in time, it may save huge amount of government revenue each year, the report added. Report says that, the cost of goods transportation through the river route is very cheap compared to other routes. The cost of per ton cargo transportation is stood at Tk 4 per kilometer on the road and Tk 2.50 on the railway, while the cost in the waterway is only Tk 1.0.
About 5.85 crore litters of diesel may be saved each year, if inland waterways are used refraining from the use of roads. Around Tk 137.11 crore will come from the plying of water transports in the rivers. If the river erosion is resisted by checking the river, it may save Tk 11.22 lakh. Thus, around Tk 1,350 crore will be saved a year.
Not only that, country’s environment may get rid from the attack of around 1.55 lakh ton carbon-dioxide. On the other hand, country’s economy may face dire consequences, if the six major rivers are not protected right now.
Inland river routes are most important in the country’s transport sector. There are around 24,000 km inland waterways in the country. Of them, around 5,968 km waterways remain navigable in rainy season and 3,865 km in dry season.
Water transports are main means for many isolated areas, where the road and railway facilities are yet to reach.
Around 50 percent economic centers have been established beside the waterways, where navigability is available for the year. Around 25 percent people of the remote areas use river route to meet their daily needs. But, many important river routes are on the verge of death due to lack of navigability. If those are not restored by proper dredging shortly, it will hit the country’s economy and development.
Continuous corruption, irregularities and mismanagement over dredging activities are the main among many other reasons behind the navigability crisis in the river routes.
According to the sources of River Protection Commission, there are around 750 small and big shape rivers in the country. Of them, around 230 rivers are now turned into waterless for want of proper dredging. Besides, continuous pollution by dumping garbage, siltation, uninterrupted grabbing by the influential are also mentionable reasons behind the destruction of the rivers. Around 80 percent wastes of different cities and industrial zones are being dumped in different rivers everyday without treatment in which the pollution of chemical substances is increasing day by day. Rivers are losing navigability for want of smooth flow.
M A Wahed, Secretary of Paribesh Bachao Andalan (POBA) said, if the rivers are not protected, country’s environment may fall at serious risk. Meanwhile, the riverbed of Buriganga has filled up with over 13 feet strata of polythene wastes posing serious risk for the biodiversity under the river. Around 60 percent wastes from different industries and 30 percent from Dhaka WASA and City Corporations are being thrown away in the rivers every day. Besides, the embankments of the rivers are being grabbed by the influential everyday which is posing serious threat to the environment.