Strengthen the Civil Society Capacity and Voice on

Water Co-operation
(Following the year of water co-operation 2013)

State of
Bangshi River

Md. Hasan Masrur
Md. Bodrud-Doza

State of the Bangshi River
The Bangshi River (also spelt Bansi) encompasses the western periphery of
Savar town. It is originated at Jamalpur from the course of the old
Brahmaputra. At upstream the Bangshi is connected via the Dhaleswari-
Pungli river to the greater Jamuna floodplain, and at downstream it is
connected through the Tongi river with the Buriganga-Meghna river system.
Hydrologically, the Bangshi river is not an isolated river because many other
rivers are connected with the Bangshi and influence its flow.
It is hydrologically connected with Buriganga, Dhaleswari, Kaliganga,
Karnatali, Lauhajang, Tongi Khal and Turag. The Turag-Bangshi River
making all the low areas becomes a connected sheet of water in the
At present, industrialization can be observed almost all over Dhaka. The
industries are situated near the rivers surrounding the Dhaka city. Most of
the industries and factories of DEPZ are situated on the banks of the
Bangshi or very close to the river system.
The Bangshi is one of the polluted rivers. The industries mainly textiles and
garments-cum dyeing factories mushroomed in this area without setting up
waste treatment units during the past decade. The sewage of the Savar
upazila is also thrown in the Bangshi river.

Fig: Satellite image of Bangshi River
Major types of industries situated on the bank of the Bangshi
River or very close to river system:
Ceramic industry, beverage industry, press and publication, garments
industry, foot ware, jute mills, textile mills, printing and dying factory,
transformer industry, automobile industry, biscuit and bread factory,
pharmaceutical industry, soap factory, brick field, cold storage, welding,
plant nursery, etc. Bangladesh Export Processing Zone is located in this
upazilla. The Cottage industry includes 8 Weaving, 100 goldsmith and 29
others workshops. The main exports are Jackfruit, papaya, flower, sapling,
dairy products, meat, transformer, fabrics, dye, medicine, readymade
garments, electronics and electric goods, shoe, brick, sweetmeat etc.

Fig: Satellite image of DEPZ area

There are approximate 80% are textile dying industries dispose their waste
water in Dhalai Beel that connected with Bonshi River. Textile dying
industries discharge huge amount of effluents, sewage sludge, and solid
waste materials directly into the surrounding area.


Fig: Map of Bangshi River
Types of pollutant found in Bangshi River
Heavy metal, odor, color, chlorides, sulphates, various dyeing chemical,
acids, various hazardous wastes contribute to the pollution of the river.

Fig: Polluted water of Bangshi River
Bangshi River
Previous state of the Bangshi river
In the past, there were a significant amount of local people were dependent
on fishing. The river water was usueful enough for the people. The river
morphology and ecosystem was well balanced. After the establishment of the
DEPZ these scenario has been changed.
Present state of the river
The gradual deterioration of the river water quality has made a drastical
change in the way of living of the people. Now a days the people are forced to
search for a new profession as the river no longer provides any support as a
habitat for the fish species. The dark black color, lack of dissolved oxygen
and presence of harmful chemicals, there is hardly any aquatic species
found in the river. Moreover, some recent studies revealed that the fish
species found here accumulates various carcinogenic chemicals in their
body tissue that may result in cancer to those who consume these fishes.

Fig: Present scenario of Banghsi River
Socio-economic condition of the area
The pollution from the industries of DEPZ greatly influenced the physical
and chemical properties of the river. Due to the pollution aquatic organisms
are at threat. The water quality of the river influences the health and socio-
economic condition of the people surrounding the river.
The socioeconomic condition of the people is hard to express in one word.
Most of the inhabitants of the riverine villages are labors, fishermen, farmers
or potters. A significant amount of local people are farmers. Rice is the main
crop that is produced by the local farmers. But since the DEPZ started
polluting the river water which is widely used as irrigation water, the yield
has been reduced to a significant amount. The number of potter family is
gradually decreasing. Other traditional occupations are also in a changing
trend. The river Bangshi no longer provides fish for these fishermen. So,
they have no other choice but to find out a new profession.
The rate of literacy is yet not satisfactory in the area under study. It was
found from some person’s opinion that most of the boys and girls leave
school after finishing primary school and try to get jobs in the nearby EPZ.
Health effect
Health sector is very much neglected in the area. There is no public hospital
in the surrounding area. Due to the contact of chemically active
pollutant mixed river water, almost all the local inhabitants suffers from
acute skin disease which eventually may lead up to cancer development.
Among the local people, respiratory disease, skin disease, gastro-intestinal
diseases are very common.
EPZ at Savar are the main reason for the pollution of water of the river. All
polluted effluent discharges in the river. Now the water is the reason of
pollution of soil and as well as ground water. Even crops production also
being damaged due to the highly polluted river water.
Wastewater discharged from DEPZ could be recycled for the remediation of
pollution in a sustainable and eco-specific manner. Different remediation
measures should be taken promptly to remove excising metal from
The pollution can be minimized by raising awareness among the people. The
policy makers should be aware of the hazardous impact of the pollution. The
river water quality should be checked in a regular interval. Industrialists
should come forward to maintain the environmental and ecological balance
of the river.
Common Mitigation Measures
Wastewater treatment is probably the most obvious mitigation measure
that can check the adverse environmental and social consequences. The
purpose of the wastewater treatment project is to reduce the current
amounts of untreated sewage that enters into natural ecosystem of river,
thereby allowing for recovery of the inherent natural productivity of the
water bodies and restoration of the economic benefits to be derived from a
healthy ecosystem.