Factories with no ETPs will be shut down: minister

Staff Correspondent

The shipping minister Shajahan Khan on Wednesday said factories located along the rivers in Dhaka would be shut down if their existing effluent treatment plants are not kept functional.
He said factories without ETPs would be given a certain time to start the systems and once the deadline ends, they would be closed down.
The Minister was speaking at a press briefing at the secretariat following an inter-ministerial meeting to work out a plan to prevent pollution in the rivers Buriganga, Sitalakhya, Balu and Turag.
Buriganga at present is virtually devoid of any biological life while the three other rivers are also endangered, experts concur.
Shajahan Khan presided over the meeting where LGRD and cooperative minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, housing and public works minister Mosharraf Hossain, water resources minister Anisul Islam Mahmud, environment and forests minister Anwar Hossain, land minister Shamsur Rahman Sherif, Dhaka North mayor Annisul Huq, and Dhaka South mayor Sayeed Khokon, among others, were present.
At the briefing he expressed concern over the level of pollution in the four rivers and said discussions, meetings and even fines had failed to reduce pollution in these rivers.
In recent times the authorities had realised fines worth Tk 118 crore from different factories for not operating their ETPs, he said.
He said the industries ministry had been asked to give certain time to the tanneries to move from Hazaribagh to Savar and the tanneries would be shut down if they failed to comply with the timeline.
According to the industries ministry, till now about 46 per cent tanneries are prepared for relocation.
A long-term project for the ecological restoration and prevention of pollution in these four rivers will be taken up and consultants will be appointed to conduct a feasibility study, the minister said.
The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority will implement the project, he said.
As the mega project will take about four to five years to take off, short-term initiatives will be implemented to save the rivers, he said.
Shajahan Khan said industrial waste was responsible for 60 per cent pollution of the four rivers while sewer, medical, household and other wastes were responsible for rest of the pollution.
According to officials, tannery waste and household waste were responsible for 30 per cent and 15 per cent pollution of the rivers respectively.

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