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Tannery shifting limps

Both Dhaleswari, Buriganga getting polluted now

The under-construction Tannery Industrial Park at Savar became a huge source of pollution since 100 out of 155 tannery factories shifted there in last eight months.Environmentalists expressed serious concern over 15,000 cubic metre of untreated wastes being released into the Dhaleswari River daily by 100 tannery factories.They said that the problem arose due to the government’s failure to fully commission the central effluent treatment plant and install other supportive facilities in 14 years since 2003.The authorities’ failure to provide environment friendly leather industry, they said, defeated the very purpose of setting up the 200-acre tannery park at a huge cost and also relocating the tannery factories from Hazaribagh. The tannery park has been turned into a dumping yard for liquid and solid toxic wastes from the factories in production there, they said.The ground realities show that the new tannery park at Savar replicated the situation for which tannery factory shifting from Hazaribagh was planned, they said.For missing two deadlines to fully commission the CETP and put in place a dumping yard, a common chromium recovery unit and the other supportive facilities if the government could be blamed, the factory owners can’t shirk the responsibility of not using the available facilities, they said. According to BUET, the consultants of the tannery park, roughly 15,000 cubic metre of untreated wastes is released into the Dhaleswari River by 100 tannery factories every day.The team leader of the group of consultants, BUET’s professor Delwar Hossain told New Age that the problem arose as the CETP is used for treating the wastes for only four hours every day and not round the clock as it should be.He said that the factory owners were creating problems by throwing solid waste into the pipes for draining liquid wastes without fixing strainers on these outlets.As a result, he said, the tannery park gets submerged by liquid wastes spilling from the drainage pipes.Delwar said that the factory owners were creating yet another problem by dumping solid wastes here and there instead of at the corners earmarked by the authorities until a permanent dumping yard was built. Local people complained that untreated liquid wastes is released into the Dhaleswari River round the clock using three drains built for draining out rain waters.During visits, New Age found that the drains built for rainwater removal had been filled with stinking liquid tannery waste. Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan general secretary Abdul Matin said that in the name of relocating tannery factories the government relocated pollution from Hazaribagh to Savar.He said that earlier the Buriganga alone was getting polluted by tannery wastes and not now by polluting the Dhaleswari in the upstream the Buriganga is also being polluted.Project director Ziaul Haque blamed the Chinese contractors for not operating the CETP round the clock.Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association chief executive Syeda Rizwana Hasan said that tannery relocation would be meaningless if the government failed to stop pollution.Bangladesh Tanners Association chairman Shaheen Ahamed said that factory owners never channeled solid wastes through the pipelines meant for draining out liquid wastes.He said that the wastes spill out as the authorities installed narrow pipes.He said that the government should take the responsibility for forcing factory shifting before putting the facilities in place. Who would take the responsibility for the government missing two deadlines for completing the project and extending the deadline for the 3rd time until 2019.


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