Dhanmondi lake contaminated by mysterious toxic waste
Report & Photos Morshed Ali Khan ›
The Dhanmondi lake water in the western part has been severely contaminated with toxic wastewater, a recent laboratory test conducted by the Department of Environment (DoE) reveals.
The water of the lake between Road 32 Bridge and Road 27 (a stretch of about 250 meters) has turned violet color, (reddish according to DoE report) — a strong indicator of liquid ‘tannery’ waste from an unknown source. DoE chemists who tested the lake water said they needed time to unearth the source of the pollution that became visible a month ago.
“There is no doubt the toxic wastewater is entering this part of the lake but nobody is sure where it comes from,” said DoE ‘s Senior Chemist, Syed Ahmed Kabir.
“We will send our laboratory report to the DoE Dhaka Division, who will decide what to do next,” he added.
The DoE test shows the BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand) of the lake water at 41.1 against a Bangladesh standard of 6 or less. The concentration of DO (Dissolved Oxygen), a life and death matter for aquatic lives, is also alarmingly high with a count of 12.1 in per liter of lake water.
DoE’s Deputy Director Mustafizur Rahman said the DO concentration suggests the growth of algae in the water, which clearly indicates that the discharged wastewater contains a good volume of phosphorus. According to Wikipedia, Phosphorus could be colorless, waxy white, yellow, scarlet, red, violet and black. The high energy beta particles from phosphorus penetrate skin and corneas and if ingested, inhaled, or absorbed, it is readily incorporated into bone and nucleic acids.
Interestingly, the remainder of the 3.2 Km long Dhanmondi Lake somehow remains clean, DoE test shows. The DoE officials also warn that the pollution could spread to other parts of the lake and cause harm to environment and the thousands of people who come to visit the lake areas every day. Dhanmondi lake area in Dhaka, though under pressure from ever expanding mosques and business houses with political influence, still remains a popular tourist destination for the city dwellers.
The western part of the Dhanmondi Lake has always been neglected. When the lake went through extensive facelift works in 1997 at a cost of over 30 crore Taka, this part was left alone. Apart from recovering the lakeside land for a walkway, this part of the lake has never been cared for. Thousands of residents living along the banks are now exposed to severe pollution.
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