Better cooperation needed between government bodies and environmental organizations to keep the country’s rivers healthy, observe experts
In a riverine country like Bangladesh, people need to feel connected with the rivers to protect them, otherwise, the fight against encroachers will not be successful, said experts and stakeholders.
They made the observation during a virtual rally titled “March for Rivers” marking the International River Day on Saturday.
The event was organized by the World Rivers Day Celebration Council consisting of 71 environmental organizations including Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa).
Bapa General Secretary Sharif Jamil hosted the program.
Addressing the event, Chairman of the National River Protection Commission (NRPC) ASM Ali Kabir said that such initiatives play a significant role in creating awareness among the general people.
Emphasising cooperation among the organizations working for rivers and waterslands, the chairman said “working together is very important.”
“NRPC is comparatively new. This is why we seek advice from all of you [the environmental organizations].
“That’s why we plan to hold a national convention to discuss our activities surrounding the rivers of Bangladesh this year.”
Sheikh Rokon, secretary general of Riverine People, a Dhaka-based national civil society organization dedicated to rivers, wetlands, and water resources, made few proposals at the online event.
He said that protecting the rights of river-based communities, implementation of the existing laws, knowledge-based river movements, and strengthening economic activities around rivers, are crucial factors for ensuring the protection of our rivers.
“The reason people don’t come forward to save the rivers as their own is that they do not feel connected. In the last few decades, all our development activities were planned and implemented keeping the rivers on the sidelines.
“People now are not so willing to help protect the rivers as they are not directly dependent on them anymore.”
Prof Manzurul Kibria of Chittagong University (CU) said: “We must take care of our rivers and give them back their good health.”