Pollution killing century-old canal in Nilphamari | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 12, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:58 AM, April 12, 2021

Pollution killing century-old canal in Nilphamari

Pochanala canal, a 22-kilometer-long water body, flowing through Saidpur municipality and surrounding villages is being polluted by dumping of industrial, municipal and household wastes.

The canal owned by Bangladesh water development board (BWDB) was dug by a generous landlord named Zamindar Pocha Sarker at the end of nineteenth century in order to maintain ecological balance and drain out flood water in rainy season to save thousands of hectors crops field.

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The canal is important as Saidpur cantonment, BSCIC industrial estate, Bangladesh Army University of Engineering and Technology, Upazila Parishad Complex etc are situated beside it and country's biggest railway workshop, airport also stand nearby.

BWDB recently re-excavated it to bring back its navigability and natural beauty with the expenditure of Tk 4.30 crore but due to unabated disposal of waste, the desired goal remains a far cry.

Visiting the canal few days ago, this correspondent found that water hyacinth, dumped polythene bags, trashes and other filths covering the surface of the canal hindering water flow.

In Neyamatpur area, two major drains of the municipality and another of BSCIC industrial estate were found continuously discharging wastes and chemicals into the canal polluting its water.

It was also seen at different places that many people throwing household garbage and dumping human waste in the canal through plastic pipes connected with toilets.

Aslam Hossain (45), a tea stall owner in the area, said that due to the discharge of wastes, the water has become viscous and emits bad odour.

It is now breeding place of mosquitoes and flies, he also said.

Wildlife activist Alamgir Hossain said, "Birds and local animals used to live on trees beside the canal, it was also a safe abode for indigenous fishes but pollution has taken away all."

"The environment has been badly affected, trees on banks have gone as pollution is killing Pochanala. Measures should be taken to save it as it is our lifeline," said Syeda Rukhsana Zaman Sanu, principal of local Marigold school.

Contacted, In-Charge of Saidpur BISCIC Partha Sarothi Sarker said that they have no heavy industry to discharge chemical waste but admitted that used water from light industries falls into the canal and assured that if necessary they would think to set up effluent treatment plant."

"Though Pochanala flows through the municipality area but it is owned by BWDB and it is their responsibility to make it pollution free and we will co-operate if they take steps in this regard," said Ayub Hossain, executive engineer (ex-en) of Saidpur municipality.

Krishna Kamol Chandra Sarker, ex-en of BWDB's Saidpur division said, "The matter has been informed to the environment directorate for further course of action to make the canal pollution free."

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