Save the Saviours

To save a river from the clutches of pollution to make our city a better living place and prioritizing the health of surrounding inhabitant immediate attention and initiatives must be taken by responsible people. Contributing in preserving the beauty of the nature and make water bodies useful and standard is something I would like myself to be engaged in. Buriganga requires massive progress to reach an acceptable position for Dhaka and for that to be possible people need alarming awareness and acknowledge this as an major issue to take in reconsideration to reduce pollution in Dhaka.

Dhaka being the most industrialized city in our country is now completing its 400 years since Mughals proclaimed this city with a strategized plan. This city tremendously flourished economically and industrially since then owing a major part of its success to Old Ganges or Buriganga River. This river has been the heart of Dhaka nurturing it with all its resources in the best way possible. However, sadly this city has been nothing but extremely cruel and abusive in return. The unplanned urbanization and unsupervised industrialization of Dhaka is slowly killing the soul of this river in a murderous way. This issue requires immediate alarmed notice and attention to solve this problem and save this river from the labyrinth of destruction. Still now, Buriganga plays an important role in the economy of Dhaka.

According to the officials, an average of 30,000 people use Sadarghat launch terminal, one of the largest river ports in the world, everyday for transportation. Several studies on the Buriganga River have identified many  causes for the river’s pollution such as sedimentation at the upstream, encroachment, and disposal of solid wastes, sewage and industrial wastes in the river. In addition to these, people living around the area have been throwing domestic wastes and animal feces regularly. Professor Muntasir Mamoon, a historian who has been writing books and articles on Buriganga River and other connecting canals since early 1970s, says, “The historical documents state that people used to get bad smell one and half kilometers away from Buriganga River even in the late 19th century.” The reason behind this is Dhaka City dwellers who have been dumping domestic wastes and solid wastes into the Buriganga since the Mughal period. There are about 200 leather tanneries in the Hazaribagh district of Dhaka, the capital. Some use modest technology and machinery, but most operate as they did decades ago and release untreated toxic chemical waste near residential areas. After shutting down and shifting many tanneries the quality has been improved to a extent. Although this quality is nowhere near the standard quality of water bodies, this improvement is the proof that Buriganga still can be revived back to life. 

The main pollutants of Buriganga river being chemical wastes of mills and factories, household waste, medical waste, sewage, dead animals, plastics and oil, the environment or specifically water and air around the whole area is very dangerously polluted for human habitation. The impact of the water pollution of Buriganga will befall on entire Dhaka and not just a specific area as water bodies greatly affect climate. Coming back from what comes on Dhaka will be tougher people will agree to admit so to escape this catastrophe the people has to be aware of the threats falling on Buriganga. Because of overpopulation, the government pays least attention to human health and increasing waterborne diseases. Polluted water is of great concern to humans, plants, aquatic organisms and the climate.

Urbanization is destroying the environment here and threatening its survival chances. To save Buriganga from the clutches of death and pollution it might be possible yet by proper implementation of High Court directives, the installation of water purification plants at all industries adjacent to the river, and the eviction of the makeshift structures to free the river from being encroached upon. These initiatives must be taken immediately but the first step to save Buriganga is to stop the continuous discharge of thousands of tons of industrial wastes, garbage, and sewage. The government should make them pay up for the extensive damage they are causing. If anyhow we end up being successful in saving Buriganga, it might save us from the adverse and alarming climate change of Dhaka. The initiatives must be addressed as soon as possible because each day is contributing to polluting it more.

The people of Dhaka must realize the need to step in now. To keep themselves safe and healthy they cannot turn their back on Buriganga in its most vulnerable state. As the citizens of a riverine country, we have an inextricable bond with rivers for why we must do a better job at keeping it alive. As a photographer, I see my role in my engagement with own city. I have an intrinsic relationship with this city and river as I spent most of my life in and around them. As a documentary photographer, my approach was to show the river and its rapidly changing landscape from every possible angle. I explored several corners of the river to have a big picture of people’s destructive involvement. At the same time, the divine water of the river stands alone with its new wave of hope. I just tried to capture all the aspects for greater concern. I myself am a nature lover who wouldn’t a beautiful and significant river of Dhaka like Buriganga to die at the hands of humans and industrialization. To help Buriganaga in a more progressive and fast way I will require capital, social help, and of course mass addressing. This help to save Buriganga would not just affect one but thousands of people out here in our country to escape and avoid the surprising changes of climate. Dhaka is one of the most polluted cities in the entire world so if we fail to save rivers like Buriganga we might have to lose Dhaka to the hands of destruction and adverse change of effect of the climate.

For the population of Dhaka to survive and life a healthy life we should utmost try our best to save buriganga and make it free from any pollution.