Spring 2014


Present status of the Buriganga River


Md. Salman Rahman and Md. Tafiqul Islam


For several decades, river pollution and fresh water depletion are viewed as one of the top environment problems in Asian region. The Buriganga River in Bangladesh is subject to severe pollution and considered as one of the worst polluted rivers in the World. Especially, the development of tannery industry at Hazaribagh that has contributed to Bangladesh economy is causing pollution and the disruption of the ecosystem. As a result, the environmental problems are getting worse.  According to the Export promotion Bureau (EPB) of Bangladesh, export earnings from leather industry were US$401.64 million   in 2009-2010. But Hazaribagh tannery city consisting of 196 tanneries is discharging hazardous effluents everyday directly to the to the Buriganga without any treatment. This is responsible for the high Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and low Dissolved Oxygen (DO) values in Buriganga water.  Low DO value in Buriganga water and such relation is a crucial problem in any developing country that stresses on economic growth compromising environmental pollution. Inadequate waste water management systems, lack of sewerage and infrastructure facilities in on hand and lack effective pollution control measure and their strict enforcements may be largely responsible for this alarming problem and grave situation. When at the same time several dying industries at the river bank as well as the medical and dispensary wastes and solid wastes also produce irreversible hazards to Buriganga and surrounding environment. The pollution by the tanneries and health hazards caused by the pollution has also been investigated. Several government decisions has been made to revive the tolerant condition of Buriganga among which the shifting Tanneries from Hazaribagh to Saver area and subsidies to the toxic industries for establishing Effluent Treatment Plant(ETP) can be mentioned, but none of these projects have been implemented yet. That’s why, Buriganga, the glory of Dhaka is under the threat of demolition and wiping out effect. The adjacent areas of Buriganga river like Keranigang and Kamrangirchar are also severely affected. At the end of this thesis, several proposals regarding the improvement of water quality of Buriganga River are highlighted.