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Who is responsible for cleaning lakes and canals?

Staff Reporter:
Hatirjheel in the capital has turned into a massive mosquito breeding ground due to its dirty and stinking water, as the waterbody has not been cleaned for a long time.

A similar situation is found in Uttara Canal, and in the lakes in Gulshan and Baridhara.

The four waterbodies are under the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk), which for a long time has remained negligent about cleaning them.

However, amid a growing mosquito menace, the Dhaka North City Corporation has started cleaning them.

During a recent visit, Bangla Tribune found that different types of wastes litter both banks of Hatirjheel, with a bad odour coming out of its water.

Before the ongoing cleanliness campaign, the DNCC had last cleaned Hatirjheel in 2022.

The culex mosquito population has expanded alarmingly in the Uttara Sector-12 canal, which is co-owned by Rajuk and Dhaka Wasa, despite anti-mosquito drives by the DNCC.

Rajuk and Dhaka Wasa took no measures in the past three years to clean the canal.

The situation in Gulshan and Baridhara lakes is no better now.

Devotees frequenting the state-of-the-art Gulshan mosque complain of the bad smell of the lake water.

Local residential society leaders said the Gulshan and Baridhara lakes were cleaned last month.

DNCC Chief Waste Management Officer Captain Mohammad Fida Hasan said: “As part of our regular activities, we’ve started cleaning canals and waterbodies. But as Rajuk is not cleaning its waterbodies, we’re doing so given the growing public suffering.”

Alongside DNCC conservancy cleaners, volunteers from Gulshan and Baridhara and local schools joined the cleanliness campaign, he added.

Rajuk admitted the fact that no large-scale measures to clean its waterbodies have been taken other than to prevent bad smells there.

There is no program to clean the waterbodies before the rainy season, it added.

Rajuk Director (estate and land) Md Kamrul Islam said: “To keep its water clear, necessary chemicals are regularly sprayed in Hatirjheel.

“The chemicals are also applied to prevent odour in the other waterbodies owned by Rajuk,” he said, adding that Rajuk has no other cleanliness campaign.

Entomologist and Jahangirnagar University zoology teacher Professor Kabirul Bashar said that the filthy waterbodies pose a massive risk of a dengue outbreak, especially during the rainy season.

Moreover, the dirty water is also threatening the environment and biodiversity of the city, he added.

DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam told Bangla Tribune that the corporation has written to Rajuk, asking it to hand over responsibility for the Uttara Canal and the Gulshan and Baridhara lakes to it.

“As the waterbodies are still under the jurisdiction of Rajuk, we can’t clean them at our whim,” Mayor Atiqul said.

He went on to say: “We’ve planned a massive facelift of the waterbodies once they are handed over to us.”

“It is quite possible to launch a water boat service and fish farming. But for that to be done, the inflow of effluents into the waterbodies has to stop. Rajuk and Dhaka Wasa should assist us in this regard. Other agencies concerned should also come forward.”

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