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‘Save rivers   from pollution, grabbing’

Published : 24 Nov 2022 09:17 PM

Environmentalists and rivers conservationists at a press conference on Thursday said that the rivers around Dhaka city are gradually becoming narrower due to the pollution and encroachment. The black water in the rivers is getting darker.

“Like some other areas, Barogram, which has a population of around 30 akhs in the eastern suburbs of the Dhaka city, is currently facing a severe environmental disaster. The water of Narai, Debdholai and Balu rivers flowing through 36 villages of Khilgaon, Demra and Sabujbag police stations is now heavily polluted. The air of the entire area is heavy with the stench of polluted water,” Sharif Jamil, convener of Waterkeepers Bangladesh Consortium,” said at the press conference at the National Press Club. 

The press conference was organized to brief about a two-day river festival, which is scheduled to begin today (November 25). The main event of the river festival will be held at Itakhola in Trimohani area of Khilgaon in the capital. 

Waterkeepers Bangladesh Consortium and Barogram Balu Nadi Morcha are jointly organizing the river festival ‘Balu River Festival’ demanding a pollution-free river and aiming to save the rivers of eastern suburbs of the Dhaka city from this terrible pollution and encroachment. 

Moderated by Kamruzzaman, project coordinator at Waterkeepers Bangladesh Consortium; Md Amjad Hossain, member secretary of Barogram Balu Nadi Morcha; presented the main speech at the press conference. 

Prof Dr Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumder, chairman of environmental science department of Stamford University Bangladesh; Md Suruj Miah, convener of Barogram Balu Nadi Morcha; and Ibnul Syed Rana, chairman & CEO at Nirapad Development Foundation; also spoke on the occasion. 

On the first day of the festival, a boat race will be held on the river Balu in Itakhola area on Friday at 3:00 pm. People from Balu, Shitalakshya, Devdholai and Narai rivers’ banks will participate in this race along with about 40 boats.

On the second day, a discussion will be held from 11:00 am on Saturday. Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP, president of the parliamentary standing committee on the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, will attend the event as chief guest. 

Prof Dr Ainun Nishat, expert in water and climate change, Badiul Alam Majumder secretary of SUJAN; and representatives from various organizations will participate in the discussion. Khushi Kabir, coordinator of Nijera Kori; will preside over the session. 

After that, a stick-game and pillow throwing game for women will be held at 2:00 pm. Prize distribution will be held at 3:00 pm and a cultural programme will be organized at 4:00 pm.

Highlighting the aim and purpose of the festival, it was informed in the press conference that the river has turned into a sewer today due to various human-caused pollution activities. Therefore, this festival is organized to involve the riverside people and civic organizations to protect the Narai, Devdholai and Balu rivers from the hands of the polluters.