Speakers at a discussion yesterday said that dumping of waste materials in rivers, canals and other waterbodies, in Savar -- by different industries including the newly relocated tanneries -- are causing severe pollution and posing health risks to residents.
The living conditions in Savar have deteriorated due to industrial pollution and indiscriminate waste dumping, they added, and urged authorities to take immediate steps to stop water and air pollution in the area.
Over 100 participants, mostly living in the Savar, participated in the discussion jointly organised by Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD), Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela), rights organisation Nijera Kori, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) and several local organisations from Savar including Nodi O Poribesh Unnyan Parishad (NoPUP) at Village Education Resource Centre.
Authorities are overlooking the pollution problem in Savar, speakers said, adding that indiscriminate dumping of tannery waste is spreading toxic gas in adjacent areas.
On the other hand, the waste dumping zone set up at Aminbazar area beside Dhaka-Aricha highway -- where wastes from the City Corporation is dumped -- is also hampering the environment, they said.
Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of Bela said around 50 industries in Savar were polluting three rivers, fifteen canals and other waterbodies.
“Bela would go to court if the authorities do not solve the environmental problems of Savar,” she also said.
Md Bosir Ullah, a resident of Savar's Shadhapur area, said, “Once we used to catch fish in Beel Baghil, one of the largest waterbodies in Savar. Now it is almost grabbed, and polluted water is spreading various diseases.”
“We used to cultivate crops using water from this waterbody, but now we cannot use it as the water has become severely polluted,” he added.
Abu Sayeed, a resident of Horindhara area said his family members have been facing breathing problems since the tanneries were shifted to the area.
“We have to cover our noses while passing through the area,” he said.
Belalur Rahman of Jahouchar area alleged that the tanneries were discharging liquid waste in Dhaleswar River.
“We do not understand why Dhaka City Corporation is dumping waste in Savar”, said Shamsul Haque, general secretary of NoPUP in Savar. He urged the authorities to take steps to stop the pollution.
Shamsul Huda, Executive Director of ALRD, presided over the programme.