Toxic liquid waste of industries are polluting the water of Turag river as well as other canals and marshes in Gazipur. Turag is in the worst condition. Its water has turned pitch black.

A total of 96 spots have been identified for as sources of polluting 40 kilometres area of Turag river from Gazipur’s Tongi to city’s Kodda area. Toxic liquid waste from factories and industries are seeping into Turag river from these spots.

On the International Day of Action for Rivers, the area between Tongi river port and Kodda of the Turag river was inspected and monitored at the joint initiative of Bangladesh River Foundation and Bangladesh River Travelers Network.

The inspection started from Tongi’s Arichpur then went on along Machimpur, Tongi Bazar, Kamarpara, Rustompur, Ichorkandi, Kashimpur and ended at Kodda Bazar.

About the inspection, chief of the delegate Bangladesh River Foundation chairman Monir Hossain said they have been able to identify a total of 96 pollution sources.

Of the sources, 17 belong to industries, 8 belong to Gazipur City Corporation, 12 belong to farms, 6 come from markets and bazars, 3 come from linked river-canals while 50 are from households and others.

Other members of the inspection team were Bangladesh River Travelers Network central president Habibur Rahman, vice president Tajul Islam, Gazipur district unit general secretary Nazmul Hossain, journalist and environmental activist Aminul Islam, river activists Monir Hosain Sarker, Rabiul Islam, Nazrul Karim, Amzad Hossain and John Paul.

Bangladesh River Travelers Network central president Habibur Rahman said, “From what we witnessed in the inspection, it seems like the Turag’s funeral has already been done. To get out of this situation, all the planning implementing agencies have to work in coordination.”

From what we witnessed in the inspection, it seems like the Turag’s funeral has already been done. To get out of this situation, all the planning implementing agencies have to work in coordination.
Habibur Rahman, president, Bangladesh River Travelers Network

Journalist and environmental activist Aminul Islam said the life force of Turag is draining away. Turag can’t be saved without ensuring its legal rights.

As per the inspection team’s narrative, even though there are ETPs in the industrial factories, they are not used. There are more than 5,000 factories in Gazipur including those from the BSCIC in Tongi and Konabari.

Liquid waste from these factories is dumped directly into bogs. Foul-smelling waste water is continuously oozing into the nearby water body. Their final destination is the Turag River.

The list of companies polluting the water includes companies owned by many well-known and influential people.

The department of environment has no activities against these companies. Liquid toxins are entering the human body via crops and people contract critical diseases.  

Residents from surrounding areas of the Turag river said they are fed up with the stench of waste-mixed water. Crops of the field as well as fish from the ponds are getting destroyed. Meanwhile the soil is losing fertility.

Kodda area resident Saiful Islam said due to the aggression of factory owners, water of the canal has turned heavy like tar.  If the water touches the skin it itches and there rashes break out.

Elders and children continuously fall sick because of the stench. The environment of the area is being destroyed by toxic water being released directly into the agricultural fields and water bodies, he added.

Visiting Kodda, Zarun, Islampur, Hotapara and Masterbari areas in Gazipur city, it was found that liquid waste from the factories is pouring into the railway’s bog.  

Traveling through agro fields, drains, adjacent lake and Nagda canal from there, the coal black water is falling into the Turag river. Farmers are irrigating the Boro paddy fields with that polluted water. Foul smell is coming out of that water.

Noyon Mia, deputy director of the environment department in Gazipur said that except for a few all the factories in Gazipur have Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP), but many companies don’t keep the ETPs running.

The department of environment is conducting regular drives and imposing fines. So far, gas connections of 12 companies have been severed, he added.

Bangladesh River Foundation chairman Monisr Hossain said that the presence of lead, chromium and cadmium in water is crossing the bearable limit in Gazipur.

The level of pollution in rivers, canals and lakes is rising day by day. The pollution’s spreading from one water body to another through water.

It’s polluting the underwater resources as well. It’s having an adverse impact on aquatic creatures as well as the human body.

Skin diseases, bronchitis and respiratory diseases are rising in this region. To get out of this situation, it has to be ensured that ETPs are installed in factories and are kept running.

Strict measures have to be taken against the polluters. If the condition in Gazipur becomes critical due to pollution, it won’t be possible to save Dhaka either. Because, Gazipur is upstream of Dhaka, he added.