Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Dhaka pumps 1.1 million cubic metres of sewage into rivers daily, study says

  • Joyanta Saha, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-05-25 22:10:36 BdST

bdnews24
A ship moves across the polluted waters of the Buriganga River, as viewed from the Bangladesh China Friendship Bridge in Dhaka's Postogola. The poisonous black water bears testimony to the environmental degradation inflicted upon it akin to three other rivers around the capital. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

Most of the sewage generated in Dhaka is flowing into the rivers around the capital, impacting the authorities’ capability to supply drinkable water, a study says.

It will not be possible for the Water Supply and Sewerage Authority or WASA to provide safe water unless the river pollution is not stopped, according to the study published by the Bangladesh Institute of Planners on Saturday.

Presenting the findings of the research on Dhaka’s liveability, the institute’s General Secretary Adil Mohammed Khan said the city churns out up to 1.5 million cubic metres of sewage daily.

Of the waste material, 20 percent or 300,000 cubic metres remain in the source and only 40,000 cubic metres go to a treatment plant at Pagla, Khan said. 

The remaining 1.16 million cubic metres flow into the rivers untreated, polluting the Buriganga, Balu, Turag and Shitalakkhya, the urban planner said. 

“WASA is unable to supply pure water due to this river pollution. We are blaming WASA, but it won’t be able to supply safe water even with projects worth tens of millions of taka if the situation remains the same,” the BIP general secretary said.

To overcome the situation, he suggested setting up effluent treatment plants at factories, keeping separate drains for sewage and rainwater, preserving rainwater to raise groundwater table level, establishing several more sewage treatment plants and excavating waste materials from riverbeds.

Dhaka North Mayor Atiqul Islam told the event that the city corporation was planning to set up secondary transfer stations or STS for waste disposal.

“A collective way will be followed for dumping,” he added.

According to the BIP, 76 percent of 7,000 tonnes to 8,000 tonnes of waste produced in Dhaka daily is hard waste.

About 120,000 residents of the city are involved differently in recycling 20 percent of this waste, the study says. 

It suggested taking steps for recycling the waste to make raw materials for power sector. 

The study highlighted the dense population of Dhaka, which Khan said was foiling all government plans to improve the services sector.