Dhaka,  Wednesday
29 May 2024

Pollution, encroachments choke Kalandi Canal 

Enayet Khan, Brahmanbaria 

Published: 07:05, 11 September 2023

Pollution, encroachments choke Kalandi Canal 

Photo : TDM

The picturesque town of Akhaura in Brahmanbaria is facing a severe environmental crisis as its vital waterways, notably the Kalandi canal and numerous municipal drains, grapple with encroachment and pollution. The perilous situation has disrupted daily life, posing serious drainage problems, and endangering public health due to stagnant water and unchecked waste disposal.

In recent times, substantial volumes of garbage have accumulated within these vital water channels, effectively halting the flow of water. This recklessness in waste disposal is not only affecting the quality of life for residents but is also taking a toll on public health as the area contends with foul odors and an alarming rise in mosquito infestations, raising concerns about the spread of diseases like dengue. As the monsoon season persists, Akhaura municipality is grappling with canals and drains that have seemingly transformed into hazardous repositories.

Concerned citizens are pointing fingers at government institutions and municipal authorities, accusing them of failing to instill environmental consciousness among the populace. They argue that unaware residents are wreaking havoc on the environment. However, municipal authorities counter these claims, asserting that they have undertaken various measures to address the issue, but some residents continue to disregard the importance of keeping canals and drains free of waste.

A disheartening sight greets observers throughout the municipal city, from behind the City Market to the Akhaura Thana Bridge, and within the Masjid Para area, where piles of garbage have marred the canals and drains. The Kalandi Canal, adjacent to Dudu Mia Housing Society, has been virtually obscured by a substantial mound of waste, obstructing the water's natural course. The condition of the canal near Bhuiya Boding is even direr, with the waterway resembling a dumping ground. This canal plays a pivotal role in facilitating the removal of municipal water, making its deterioration a critical concern.

Ainul Hossain, a resident of Akhaura College neighborhood, lamented the apathy of some families who evade waste collection fees by resorting to the irresponsible dumping of garbage into canals, drains, and ponds. He contends that the municipality's inaction has exacerbated the problem.

Moshiur Rahman, a trader in the local market, revealed that in addition to households, several hotels and shops routinely dispose of their waste in the canals and drains. This widespread practice has led to an existential crisis for these water bodies, sparking environmental degradation and fostering mosquito breeding grounds. The indiscriminate disposal of garbage in the canals now poses a grave threat to public health.

Rakib Uddin, Member Secretary of Akhaura Nature and Environment Club, stressed that the lack of awareness among the populace is exacerbating the issue. He emphasized that government institutions and municipal authorities should have initiated awareness campaigns long ago and enforced strict environmental regulations to mitigate the problem. Uddin's organization is now actively engaged in awareness efforts.

Nikash Chandra Mitra, Executive Engineer of Akhaura Municipality, acknowledged the challenge and revealed an agreement with SAARC Bangladesh for municipal garbage removal. However, he expressed frustration at residents continuing to dump waste in canals and drains. Mitra highlighted ongoing efforts to raise awareness and combat the mosquito infestation, including the use of fogger machines and mosquito-repelling measures.