Strengthen the Civil Society Capacity and Voice on

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

State of
Turag River

Tareque Ahmed
Md. Bodrud-Doza

State of the Turag River
The Turag river is one of the most important river around Dhaka city. The
river used for various purposes throughout the century. The river is a
matter of great importance from economic point of view. The river is a
transit point with Bangshi, Dhaleswari and Buriganga of the Dhaka city.
The Turag River is the upper tributary of the Buriganga, a major river in
Bangladesh. The Turag originates from the Bangshi River, the latter an
important tributary of the Dhaleshwari River, flows through Gazipur and
joins the Buriganga at Mirpur in Dhaka District. It is navigable by boat all
year round.
Turag River drawn into the Jamuna system by the invasion of the
Louhajang river (in Tangail district). The Turag remains active, although it
has only a small flow in the dry season. The whole of the Turag valley south
of the Mymensingh Trunk Road is notable for boro rice cultivation.

Fig: Map of Savar Upazila with rives and Turag River
The entire regime of the Turag River is almost a semi-funnel shaped basin
and its catchment is located on the central and southern part of
Madhupur tract and flows from north to south within the basin and its
length is 40 miles and 15 miles in wide to the maximum. It has a total area
of 386 square miles.
There are numerous numbers of industries, brick fields, and sand extracting
zone at the banks of the river. The river water is polluted which is noticeable
through necked eye. Exemplifying the riverine character of Dhaka, the Turag
is abundant in fish

but suffers from acute water pollution. While attempts
have been made to marginally widen the river, the majority of industry has
made little effort to follow environmental law and the water has become
visibly discolored.

Fig: Satellite image and GIS map of Turag river
Method of the study of Turag river
The Turag river is one of the most polluted river surrounding the Dhaka city.
The tributaries and distributaries of the river also polluted. The Bangshi
which is the tributary river of Turag is heavily polluted and its distributary
Buriganga is another well-known polluted river in the Dhaka city. The field
study of the Turag river made from Abdullahpur to Aminbazar. Various
source of pollution are seen through Ashulia beribadh. The present state
indicate that time has come to take some initiatives to save Turag river.
Pollution scenarios are seen at every place of the river bank.

Fig: Some images during field visit of Turag River
Major findings
Pollution: Many industries have set up in and around the Dhaka City
during last decade, and the number of new industries are continually
increasing. The river Turag have been steadily experiencing complicated
problems like pollution and encroachment that have almost suffocated these
valuable lifelines of the city. The highest pollution points of the Turag River
include the Buriganga Turag Bridge area at Bashila and the Tongi Bridge
area. At these two points, the river water is pitch black with the worst of
smell and can be used for hardly any purpose. The other extreme pollution
spot is near the Tongi Bridge that derives massive pollutant loading from the
Tongi Industrial Area. This industrial area possesses about 29 heavy
industries. This cluster of industries of the capital city generates a lot of
effluents daily, which contain lots of heavy metal.
There are some severe pollution hampering the natural properties of the
river and gradually degrading the environmental condition of the whole area.
Some types of pollution are mentioned below:
Water pollution: The untreated waste from the industries degrading the
water quality of the river.
Air pollution: The area around the Turag river is one of the busiest area of
the Dhaka district. There are many industries and some places are transit
point to enter the Dhaka city. So vehicles emitted unburned fuel and road
dust pollutes the air. The entire river banks are full of brick field. The smoke
of unburned coal emitted from the brick field always polluting the air. The
river water smells very odorous some places which degrade the air quality.
The Aminbazar land filling site also situated near the Turag River, which
degrades the air quality of the area by producing high quantity of methane
Sound pollution: The area is always busy with public transportation
vehicles and trucks. So there is always a heavy sound pollution in the
surrounding area.
River grabbing and encroachment: There also some manmade
problems in there. The unplanned restaurants, hotel and business center
always degrading the river systems in various ways.
The river grabbing and encroachment is one of the biggest problem at the
area. Some dishonest people occupy the river bank illegally. As a result
some areas of the river are being dried and the river channel has been
Illegal sand extraction: The illegal sand extraction from the bank of the
river changing the navigability of the river.
Drainage: The Turag River plays a vital role to facilitate the drainage of
water from Dhaka city. But due to some man made problems the river has
lost its own nature and the river drainage system is disturbed.
Biodiversity: The aquatic life of the river is now at danger due to the
pollution of the river. The odorous and pitch black water might support a
few to the aquatic life of the river.
Water quality of the river
The Turag River is getting polluted day by day. Discharge of untreated water
from the industries continually changing the river water quality. The water
quality of the river is affected by the industrial and agricultural activities in
its vicinity and the water is characterized by high pollution load from the
surrounding industries. The river water can pose threat for aquatic lives
during post-monsoon and pre-monsoon seasons. The presence of pollutants
in Turag River could be due to dumping of municipal wastes and nutrients
from induced fertilizers from agricultural lands along the river bank which
ultimately made the river prone to eutrophication and resulted into
degradation of water quality as well as the aquatic environment. It is
alarming that the pollution concentration in the river is increasing sharply
and can cause serious threat to the ecosystem. The river water remains
most wore during the dry season. At the monsoon the water dilutes a little
and the water is usable in some extent.
To ensure the better Turag River it is essential to identify the pollution
source of the river. Then useful measures should be taken against the
polluters of the industries. The river water is being polluted from the
tributary (Bangshi). All necessary step should be adopted. The brick fields,
river encroachment, Illegal River grabbing and sand extraction from the river
bank extremely affect the river system. The Turag River is one of the most
important river of Dhaka district, which maintain the drainage system of the
city. So it is very important to take some steps for the betterment of the
The industries surrounding the river 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 the degradation of the environmental condition of the river
Immediate steps including regular monitoring of the river water quality is
needed to check the environmental condition. Wastewater discharged from
industries could be recycled for the remediation of pollution in a sustainable
and eco-specific way. Different remediation measures should be taken
promptly to remove excising pollutants from discharge.
Common mitigation measures
Wastewater treatment is probably the most obvious mitigation measure that
can check the adverse environmental and social consequences. ETP
(Effluent Treatment Plant) should be used in every industry.
Break fields near the bank of river should be maintained in eco-friendly
Landfill area near the Turag River should be maintained in proper way.
Government should be more aware about the discharge of waste from the
industries. The fine for the discharge of waste should be applied strictly.
Raising public awareness may be very effective mitigation measures.
There should be strong rules for the river use and the river maintenance act
should be maintained. The punishment for the illegal river encroachers
should be applied.

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