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Keeping our rivers from sinking

GreenWatch Desk Opinion 2024-02-20, 10:33pm

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Rivers have always been inextricable with Bangladesh’s very identity, we are a largely riverine country after all, with a large portion of the populace living on the banks of rivers upon which their livelihoods also rest.

Which is why it is extremely unfortunate that around 308 of our nation’s rivers have lost their navigability, with the majority of them situated within Dhaka. This is especially concerning when one considers that there are a total of 1,008 rivers in Bangladesh. This means that, essentially, 30% of our rivers are now rendered all but unusable.

Rivers are an incredibly important channel of economic activity, especially for those who reside along the banks, as the use of rivers as transit is imperative for businesses of all shapes and sizes. This is especially true for major transit routes from the capital and various port cities, where numerous products are loaded on to medium-sized launches which are transported via rivers. As such, the issue of navigability won’t just have an impact on housing, but might very well threaten the economy in the short-to-medium term. 

Saving our rivers from their current state, then, would save Bangladesh a lot of trouble in terms of both ecology and economy.

Strict monitoring of our rivers and identifying rivers which have been impacted the most is the obvious first step. Proper solutions have to be taken and comprehensive, long-term strategies have to be adopted so that impacted rivers are not only fixed but to also make sure that other rivers and tributaries do not lose navigability either. 

For centuries, rivers and the lives of Bangladeshis have been inseparably intertwined. We cannot allow our rivers to keep sinking anymore.