|Volume 7 | Issue 01 | January 2013 ||
A Tale of a Dying River
A Photo Feature by QAMRUZZAMAN
There are many analogies you can use to describe the beauty of a river. But for the Buriganga those days are gone. These days only negative thoughts come to mind when one thinks about this once glorious river, which grew out of the Ganges about 500 years ago. It was an enchanting river, once upon a time. Her flow gave birth to Dhaka 400 years ago. The Buriganga's misery began as the city grew bigger, and the river was gradually strangled.
The Buriganga has been dying for decades through pollution and encroachment.
Water pollution in the Buriganga River has reached alarming levels. Millions of cubic metres of toxic waste from the Hazaribagh tanneries and thousands of other industries, topped with a huge volume of untreated sewage from the city now remain almost stagnant within the river water. In the dry season, dissolved oxygen levels become very low or non-existent, and the river becomes toxic.
So it is not surprising that people living along the river are the worst victims of pollution, which they say is worse than anything experienced in previous years. Pollution in the river has also rendered hundreds of acres of agricultural land barren and destroyed the river's ecosystem. Once famous for its variety of local fishes, the Buriganga has now virtually no aquatic life. There are at least 200 sources of polluted water pouring into the river, chief among them waste from the tanneries at Rayer Bazar. Moreover both banks have become dumping grounds for the city. Adding insult to injury, land grabbers continue their exploitation of the river. The Buriganga has been narrowed to the size of a canal between Kamrangirchar and Rayer Bazar, as profit mongers fill the river with ever more sand in search of a quick buck. For those reasons the watercourse is rapidly dying. A time will come when there will be no river. Only students of history will read that there was a river named Buriganga!
Qamruzzaman is Photo Chief, Bonik Barta.
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