Relentless onslaught on natural water bodies
DWINDLING of water bodies around the capital’s periphery and within it has been a reason for concern of environmentalists for some time because with the filling of ponds, canals and small water areas, an ecological imbalance is being created. Driven by a frenzy of unplanned expansion, Dhaka has grown in size but not according to plan. In a report published on Tuesday, New Age highlights the occupation plus the ravaging of the Segunbagicha canal through an array of insensible human acts, ranging from forced occupation to filling up for real estate to mindless dumping of urban waste. Reportedly, in contravention to the Open Place, Park and Wetland Conservation Act of 2000, a large number of shops, buildings as well as eateries have sprung up through filling parts of the canal that traverses the heart of the capital, ending near the Maniknagar sluice gate. On the surface, the canal, at least in name, still exists, but the real picture is far from ideal. In certain areas, flow has been obstructed, resulting in the stagnation of water covered by a thick layer of dirt and waste. Apart from creating a foul stench, the dark water breeds mosquitoes. If callous building of structures is one cause for the shrinking canal then the other major cause is the grabbing of canal areas by politically blessed quarters. Flying the party flag with gusto and taking over khas land is nothing new with the practice becoming more brazen as days go by. It is alleged that some canal areas were simply occupied by the crass use of political muscle. Additionally, the building of culverts without proper analysis into possible repercussions has led many ordinary traders to open shops on the canal.
It’s exasperating that when confronted with the issue of encroachment, patronised politically, government officials tend to prevaricate. At certain times, with the pressure to maintain an ecological balance taking the form of public protests, eviction drives are launched, without taking into consideration about the next possible living space of those faced with displacement. In clear language: no action is preceded by any foolproof operational strategy. Keeping Dhaka city’s appalling ecological dimension in perspective, the authorities need to form a separate cell to concentrate on the city’s civic issues only. As countless development organisations are pouring in money in the name of progress, it would be wise to divert some of the funds for city restructuring.
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DWINDLING of water bodies around the capital’s periphery and within it... Full story
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