• Monday, Feb 06, 2023
  • Last Update : 09:54 am

Rivers are not construction sites

  • Published at 06:00 pm December 25th, 2019
web-river-grab
Photo: Syed Zakir Hossain

It is time to reverse the damage, and save the lifeblood of our nation

Once upon a time, our rivers were seen as national treasures, but today, they are dying, and we only have our own negligence to blame.

There have been laws, but, so far, little has been done in terms of actual improvement. In spite of a recent court order, as well as calls from the prime minister to save our rivers, these water bodies have continued to be abused, encroached upon, and polluted, never getting better, only worse.

Part of the problem is that the National River Protection Commission is not sufficiently empowered to do anything, while most of the polluters and encroachers are connected and influential people.

In April, a report revealed that Dhaka city alone had lost 36% of its water bodies over the last nine years. 

There is no doubt, then, that these illegal structures need to be torn down in order to salvage our rivers and canals, because the environmental repercussions of this encroachment are enormous.

Time and again, grabbers and encroachers have gotten a free pass, with no positive long term effect seen; it was heartening to see the HC earlier this year direct the authorities to stop the practice of grabbers being restrained for only a short amount of time.

The practice has long been that grabbers quickly return to business as usual.

But enough is enough; our blatant disregard for the rule of law, combined with the ineffectiveness of the river commission to get tough on encroachers, have brought us to this sorry state. It is time to reverse the damage, and save the lifeblood of our nation.

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