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Experts: Increasing youth engagement vital to protect rivers

  • Published at 11:56 pm August 31st, 2021
river talkies
Speakers at the third River Talkies event at the banks of Buriganga River in Washpur, Dhaka.on August 31, 2021 Courtesy

Over 200 tannery industries in Hazaribagh and 100 dyeing factories in Shyampur cause about 50% of the pollution in Buriganga

Increasing youth engagement to raise public awareness among the future generation is the key to ensure that the rivers would be protected in the upcoming days, speakers said at an event on Tuesday.

They also discussed how rivers have an important role in the upbringing of the young generation and their responsibility to prevent river pollution.

They made the remarks at the iteration of river talkies event titled “Rivers and Youth” organized by Waterkeepers Bangladesh Consortium at the banks of Buriganga River in Washpur, Dhaka.

Prof Ahmed Kamruzzaman, chairman of Department of Environmental Sciences and dean of Faculty of Science at Stamford University, said: “Our Buriganga River is decaying due to the impact of commercialization and lack of awareness.”

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He said that the air of the polluted river is polluting as far as Dhanmondi or more areas in Dhaka. “We must all speak up to protect it. We will not allow pollution.”

Ahmed Reza, vice-president of Bangladesh Debate Federation and diplomatic correspondent of Jamuna Television, said: “River is a place to live, a place to breathe. At present young people are attracted to different activities. They need to increase their attraction for rivers.” 

Saying that people do not think about rivers anymore, he said: “Civilization developed based on the river. The essence of our survival is in our river. So we have to think about the river. We literally have to save the rivers.”

While speaking at the event, Advocate Raoman Smita said: “Bangladesh is a riverine country. The country cannot survive by destroying the rivers. Getting a good environment is our birthright.” 

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She said the youth generation have to raise their voice to protect the river and the environment as they characteristically raise their voice the most against any irregularities.

Moderating the event, Sharif Jamil, coordinator of Waterkeepers Bangladesh and executive director of Blue Planet Initiative, said: “About 50% of the pollution in Buriganga is caused by more than 200 tannery industries in Hazaribagh and more than 100 dyeing factories in Shyampur.”

Hundreds of boats use Sadarghat launch terminal every day to transport millions of people and goods, which causes more river pollution, he said.

Advocate Abdullah Sunny also urged the youth to save the rivers by saying: “The youth of the river is in the rainy season. There is no way to barricade the youth of a man or a river. With youth comes exuberance. We have to use our youth to save the rivers.”