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Tannery pollution in Savar too

Most of the drains at the newly established Savar Tannery Village are already choked with construction materials, mud, and sand. As a result, many of the roads in the village are submerged in stinking water mixed with tannery waste and chemicals. Tannery waste is being dumped near Zam Zam city, which is making the area stink and posing an environmental hazard. This untreated water is also flowing into the nearby agricultural lands and wetlands, posing a health hazard, said locals.Besides, the Hemayetpur-Singair road, the entry to the Savar tannery estate, is dilapidated, and seriously hampers the movement of all types of vehicles. According to tannery owners, trucks loaded with heavy machinery and rawhide cannot drive up to the site due to the dilapidated road.“The roads on the tannery complex were not completed. So, we are facing difficulties bringing in our factory materials, including machinery, by truck,” M Shakhawatullah, the general secretary of the Bangladesh Tannery Association (BTA), told The Independent.Besides, the condition of the Hemayetpur-Singair road is very bad, he added. “We have been driving our vehicles for long on this dilapidated road. Sometimes we get stuck in potholes, or due to a punctured tyre, or if the road is flooded,” Abdul Halim, a bus driver, told this correspondent.“Several hundred trucks, mini-trucks, and other vehicles will carry rawhide to Savar tannery village in the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha season. So, it would be disastrous if the roads are not repaired immediately,” he said.Asked about the choked drainage system, he replied, “Even a little rain floods the roads in the tannery village. So, some parts of the drains are choked with rainwater mixed with sand and other waste.”However, the project director of Savar Tannery Village, Ziaul Haque, blamed the tannery owners for the choked drains. “The tannery owners are building factories. Their construction materials are getting mixed with the rainwater and clogging the drains. It is their responsibility to repair the drains and the roads,” Haque claimed.However, he said that the drain is being repaired and cleaned.An official of the roads and highways of Savar said they are trying to repair the road. It will be possible to complete the repairs before Eid, he believes.The tannery owners have started to relocate their factory units fully after disconnecting the utility services at city’s Hazaribagh.The Department of Environment (DoE) has cut off gas, power and water supply to 54 leather factories at Hazaribagh on April 8 as per Supreme Court order.Since then, the tannery owners have started construction works at Savar tannery village site to set up their new factory units. On March 6, the SC directed the DoE director general to shut down tanneries that failed to relocate from Hazaribagh to the Savar Tannery Industrial Estate.About 72 out of 154 factories have already started working at the Savar tannery estate, he said, adding, “the rest of the factories are under construction and they will be able to start their factories within a short time.”In 2001, the High Court had directed the government to shift the leather factories from Hazaribagh to Savar in view of the critical condition of the Buriganga, caused by dumping of untreated chemical waste of the tanneries into the river.


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