Dhaka's canals transformed into lush green fields: delay in garbage removal for years

Dhaka's canals transformed into lush green fields: delay in garbage removal for years

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From December 2020, Dhaka North City Corporation and Dhaka South City Corporation officially took over the charge of canals and drains from Dhaka WASA. South City got the responsibility of maintaining seven canals. Of these, three are box culverts (Arambagh-Segunbagicha, Panthapath and Dholai Khal). Dhaka North City got the responsibility of maintaining 29 canals.

In the two years after taking over from Dhaka WASA, Dhaka South City Corporation continuously cleaned the canals or garbage and silt. It got good results in 2021 and 2022. In those two years, there was no serious waterlogging during rains in the Dhaka South City Corporation area.

However, since the approval of the 'Canal Reclamation, Restoration and Beautification Project' in October 2022, the municipal waste management department has not cleared the garbage from the canals. Its impact was felt last year. In August and September last year, some heavy rains left many areas of Dhaka South City Corporation submerged in water for long periods.

This project worth 8.98 billion taka (898 crore taka) is to be completed in June 2027. One and a half years have passed, but work on the project has not started properly. Project director and superintending engineer of Dhaka South City Corporation Khairul Baker told Prothom Alo that contractors have been given a work order to remove garbage from the canals. Work has also started at some places. He said, it is difficult to determine the boundaries of the canal and that is why it is taking time to start the work completely.

However, urban planners say that it is not the case that Dhaka South City will be free from waterlogging after the implementation of this project. He says, the reason behind this is that there are many stages of rain water going from drains to canals and then to rivers. Rain water first goes down into the sewerage drain through the catch pit (grill covering the drain). The drain gate gets blocked by polythene, chips packets, plastic bottles and all kinds of garbage as well as sand. These drains need to be cleaned regularly. It is doubtful how efficiently the Municipal Corporation performs this task.

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