Polluting Halda River
DOE orders Asian Paper Mills to shut down
CHATTOGRAM, Aug 18: The Asian Paper Mills, one of the establishments responsible for polluting river Halda by dumping industrial wastes in it has been ordered to shut down till the Department of Environment (DOE's) conditions were met.
DOE Director Azadur Rahman Mallik issued the order after a hearing on the matter on Sunday. .
Earlier, the DOE had shut down the Hathazari 100 MW Peaking Power Plant, another project liable for the pollution of the Halda.
Talking to the Daily Observer, Prof M Manjurul Kibria of Zoology Department of Chattogram University who is involved in the research on the river Halda, said three major establishments are responsible for polluting the river. He said the Asian Paper Mills, Hathazari 100 MW Peaking Power Plant and Anannya Residential Area are responsible for the pollution of Halda.
Of them, he said, the DOE had already shut down two plants, Asian Paper Mills and Hathazari 100 MW Peaking Power Plant.
Manjurul Kibria said with the suspension order of two major establishments, the pollution of the river Halda will remarkably be stopped.
Meanwhile, Muktadir Hassan Assistant Director of DOE blamed the Asian paper mills for dumping untreated wastewater into the Halda.
Earlier, DOE set four conditions including construction of an Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) at their factory but the authority failed to meet the condition.
DOE ordered the factory owners to stop production as it failed to meet four conditions.
The authority also ordered to immediately implement a proper waste management system, continue running the ETP by fixing the flaws in it, and initiate a sludge removing system.
The Asian Paper Mills is located at Nondirhat area of Hathazari upazila in the district.
Earlier on June 10 last, DOE fined the Asian Paper Mills Tk 20 lakh for polluting the river Halda, countries only natural pure carp breeding ground.
Regional Director of DOE Mohammad Moazzem Hossain visited the paper mills at Nandirhar of Hathazari Upazila on May 27 in 2019 and collected some samples. After laboratory tests of the samples the DOE issued notice on the owner of the mills for a hearing.
The DOE action came after a recent visit of water resources secretary Kabir Bin Anwar in the area when he received complaints from local people about the pollution of river Halda.
Besides, DOE on July 17 last has imposed a fine of Tk 2 million on the Hathazari 100 MW Peaking Power Plant for polluting the river by dumping industrial wastes.
The authorities also ordered the temporary shutdown of the plant after a hearing over the harmful effects of the release of its furnace oil into a waterbody connected to the Halda.
Moazzem Hossain, Director of the Department in Chattogram, passed the order on July.
The Halda, one of the unique natural heritages of our country, is being polluted by the large amount of industrial wastes released into the river.
Researchers said the dissolved oxygen has fallen below the level necessary for aquatic life to thrive.
The Department of Environment has tested the water and found that the level of dissolved oxygen went below one milligram per litre on average. The level of dissolved oxygen should be at least five milligram per litre. Even level of ammonia has gone 100 times over the optimum level.
The industrial wastes from different factories near Oxygen intersection and Kulgaon area of the city were dumped in the Karnaphuli River through the Brahmanshai canal. But the canal was blocked a few years ago. The industrial wastes have since been channelled to two wetlands next to the river Halda.
The wetlands were flooded due to heavy rainfall and the Halda was polluted by the liquid waste.
Halda is the only tidal river in the world from where fertilized eggs of carps are collected. But the real identity of this river is almost unknown to the people due to lack of publicity. Besides, the river is currently facing threats of many kinds owing to the negligence of concerned authority, environmental pollution, effects of global warming in the form of salinity intrusion along with anthropogenic hazards like straightening of oxbow bend, illegal fishing of brood fish etc.