June 4, 2009

Heightened concern over river pollution

We are gratified to see that when it comes to the issue of combating river pollution, the pressure does not seem to be letting up, and that the issue continues to dominate the people's agenda.
This is as it should be, as there is no more pressing concern for the government of the day, and if it does not act swiftly and with efficiency and effectiveness, then soon the damage to our environment might become irreversible.
This issue has long been one that environmental organisations such as BELA and BPA have attempted to bring to the fore-front of people's consciousness, and of late, The Daily Star has led the charge on the issue with serialised front page coverage of the toxic river pollution.

There is every sign that the advocacy against pollution and to clean up our rivers has reached a tipping point and that the average city dweller is both acutely aware of it and anxious to see something tangible done about it.
We note with satisfaction that earlier this week the parliamentary standing committee on land ministry asked for urgent action by the industry and environment ministries to save the rivers. Now the government has been served a legal notice in a public interest litigation to take steps to stop encroachment, earth filling, and illegal structures in the Buriganga, Turag, and Shitalakkhya rivers. We await results now.
Let's repeat, river pollution is deadly serious and requiring of an immediate and coordinated solution. This is essentially a multi-disciplinary challenge. It is thus imperative for the government to form an inter-ministerial taskforce with private sector experts co-opted in it to go into the matter at length and come up with a concrete and doable action plan to stem the tide of pollution. International expertise and assistance can only be forthcoming on such a mission.

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