Tanneries killing the Dhaleshwari River

Fifteen hundred fisher folks living in the vicinity of the Dhaleshwari River have had to change their profession. Some have become day labourers, others rickshaw pullers. Because, the river is no longer capable of sustaining marine life. Authorities forced the tannery industry to move from Hazaribagh to the Savar tannery estate in 2016 but have so far failed to get the central effluent treatment plant (CETP) up and running. The CETP would have mitigated much of the pollution of the Dhaleshwari and experts fear it will end up like the Buriganga because of the untreated discharge of chemical effluents into the river from the tanneries.

Authorities are quick to lay the blame on tanneries stating that the factories at the tannery estate do not follow regulations. It was gross negligence on the part of the authorities to force the move from Hazaribagh to Savar knowing full well that the CETP was not operational, although it was claimed at the time that it would be in a few months. A few months has turned into a few years and the water of the Dhaleshwari now has a terrible odour. It’s not drinkable and causes skin rashes for anyone bathing