Hatirjheel-Begunbari project faces littering threat
Officials claim steps under way to protect its beautyUnited News of Bangladesh . Dhaka
The Hatirjheel-Begunbari project, which has instantly become a popular recreational spot for the city dwellers for its panoramic beauty, faces an impending threat of widespread littering.
As people have hardly any open space with recreational facilities in this bustling capital city, the 302-acre Hatirjheel has turned into a hotspot for them to spend time on their own and have funs with friends and family members.
During recent visits to the project areas, it was found that the visitors who came to enjoy the splendor of the spot and roam around there till midnight were least bothered to protect its beauty.
It was seen that most areas of the site were left strewn with litters like plastic water bottles and bags, cigarette butts, cigarette packets, papers, paper bags, waste from different food items, coconut shells, tissue papers as the visitors dump those on the roads, pavements, bridges and even in the lake.
Though some bins have been put at different points of the project, those are hardly used, posing a serious threat to the beauty of the country’s distinctive project inaugurated just a few days back.
‘There is no doubt that it is a wonderful project. It is needed now to protect the area from various hazards, particularly littering which has already begun,’ Jahangir Alam, a Bangladeshi expatriate living in Canada, told the news agency.
Jahangir, who has a multi-storey apartment building at Mohanagar project close to the project, also said that right at the moment littering had become a big threat for the wonderful project as various vendors and visitors had already started littering it in many ways.
‘Leaving litters is an anti-social behaviour as well as a serious cultural problem in Bangladesh. In this project site, there should be more placards with slogans against littering,’ said Mostafa Mahmud, a law student of a private university.
‘The enthusiasts, mainly the young people who visit it, must take the responsibility of dumping litters in the bins provided there,’ he added.
He, however, favours introducing the provision of fine for littering as he finds it a cultural problem.
Professor Nazrul Islam, a renowned urban expert who visited the project site on Friday, said, ‘Littering is our cultural problem. So, we need to raise public awareness with placing big signboards at the site asking people to refrain from littering alongside round-the-clock strong monitoring.
Professor Islam, also a former UGC chairman, stressed the need for involving local people in the process of protecting the beauty of the project as the locals had already developed their belongingness to it.
Involving a private firm in maintenance works could also be an option, he added.
Officials concerned, however, said that they were aware of the hazards and a process was underway to constitute two high-profile bodies - one of monitoring and another of management - to take care of the project.
A recent meeting of the Housing and Public Works Ministry formed a committee with Rajuk member (development) M Mahbubul Alam to work out frameworks of the two bodies and their responsibilities.
Talking to the news agency, Mahbub said that the two committees would intensively work for keeping the site clean and maintaining its beauty alongside ensuring security of the visitors.
He said the government was also contemplating formulating rules for punishing those who would dump wastes here and there in the site instead of dumping those in the installed bins.
Mahbub said, ‘The army, who are implanting the project, will be there in charge of maintaining and monitoring of the project until its full completion, which is expected by June, 2014.’
Project director ASM Raihanul Haque Ferdous said that they were taking masseurs for keeping the keep site clean and attractive. ‘We are doing our best to keep intact its beauty, but we need cooperation from the visitors to be successful in our venture,’ he said.
On January 2, the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, formally inaugurated the Hatirjheel-Begunbari integrated development project to public.
Speaking on the occasion, the PM called upon the city dwellers to supplement the government efforts to protect the environment and the aesthetic beauty of Dhaka city as well as make it livable one for the posterity.
The 302-acre site stretches between Airport Road and Rampura along Tejgaon, Gulshan, Modhubagh, Moghbazar, Badda and Ulan areas.
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