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ED: Get serious on saving our canals

  • Published at 01:00 am September 8th, 2020
File photo shows illegal construction on Rupnagar canal in Dhaka Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Legal action should be taken against owners of illegal structures along canals

Much of our capital city's woes are caused by the fact that our canals have been treated so horribly over the years. From illegal construction work to the indiscriminate dumping of garbage, we have largely failed to protect these water bodies, and the loss and damage to the environment, as a result, has been incalculable.

While this may seem like too little too late, it is heartening to see we are not yet ready to give up on this problem. The state minister for industries has suggested the digging of canals and constructing walkways, which should then be handed over to the two city corporations through an MoU.

It would then be up to the DNCC and the DSCC to ensure that no garbage is dumped into the canals. Furthermore, legal action should be taken against owners of illegal structures along canals.

Much has been said in the past about this necessity, but the simple and grim reality is that these encroachments are usually the work of politically influential people, who simply buy their way out of the issue. It is the common people who end up suffering.

We are a country prone to rains, and as such, our canals are absolutely vital to the rainwater flowing into surrounding rivers and out of Dhaka city. The government’s inability so far to stop the encroachment and mistreatment of canals has exacerbated the water-logging problem in the capital over the years. Every year, predictably, after heavy rains, incalculable misery is inflicted upon the residents of Dhaka as a result.

To even begin to give Dhaka the facelift that it needs, then, we must make it a priority to save our canals.