Around one-third of 62 rivers in Barishal division has lost navigability, causing suspension of vessel operation in around 460km of 27 waterways, revealed a survey of Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services yesterday.
The survey titled "The feasibility of river management by increasing the navigability of rivers in Barishal division, reducing water logging, restoring wetland ecosystems, increasing irrigation and landing facilities" was presented at a programme organised by Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority at Barishal Circuit House.
Citing the survey, Mizanur Rahman, a river morphologist and research associate at CEGIS, said there was 1,475km waterways in 62 rivers in the division. Of these, 470km of 27 rivers have already lost their navigability.
The study noted that the country's rivers are filling up due to siltation and river erosion from the upper stream and recommended dredging after conducting a comprehensive survey on its conservation.
The expert recommended 4.2 million cubic metres of capital dredging and 170 million cubic metres of maintenance and conservation dredging.
The speakers suggested dredging of these rivers to increase the navigability. It will increase irrigation and flourish tourism, they said.
State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, who was present at the programme as the chief guest, said 10,000km of waterways would be preserved in the country.
Addressing the programme, environmentalists, civil society members and journalists called for the eviction of illegal occupants while launch owners appealed for dredging round the year.
Divisional Commissioner Dr Amitabh Sarkar presided over the programme and BIWTA Chairman Commodore Golam Sadeq, Barisal City Corporation Mayor Serniabat Sadiq Abdullah, and river dredging specialist Fida Ali spoke as special guests.