On  4 March, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) and community members from Charkanai, Hulaieel, Panchuria, and Habilashdeep villages organised a human chain event in Panchuria Bazar area of Patia, Chattogram. The action follows an ongoing legal battle against the dumping of effluent into local canals.

In January 2015, BELA filed a writ petition to stop dumping industrial effluent in nearby canals and stop groundwater extraction for industrial purposes. BELA argued that these actions were contributing to the local water crisis and impacting approximately 40,000 people across four villages. On 26 November 2019, the Court ruled in favor of the petition and ordered the respective duty bearers to ensure the supply of fresh drinking water to the affected villagers. 

Unfortunately, despite this landmark judgment, the first judgment under the Water Act, the villagers’ have continued to struggle. According to local sources, the water crisis remains, and industries have continued to extract groundwater and dump their untreated effluent in the canals. Furthermore, the relevant authorities have failed to take any initiative to resolve the water crisis or address these ongoing illegal activities. 

This case is just one of many involving the exploitation and polluting of canals in Bangladesh. In late 2020, Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific released a statement regarding the dumping of untreated toxic industrial waste into the Ekhtiarpur canal. BELA filed a writ petition against the accused, MAAR Ltd., to the Court on 22 November 2020, and the case is in the queue for hearing.

The human chain was organised to address these issues and demand immediate compliance with the judgments. 

For updates on the case, follow BELA on Facebook.

 

For more information contact:
Emma Harvey
Communications Coordinator,
Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific
Email: emma.harvey@foe.org.au 

Md Khurshed Alam
Head of Programs,
Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association
Email: khurshed782@gmail.com