As many as 1,200 volunteers have joined a drive to remove waste from the Paris Canal in Mirpur under an initiative taken by Dhaka North City Corporation in a bid to ease waterlogging.
Mayor Md Atiqul Islam administered an oath to the volunteers to work for the welfare of the country and its people at the launch of the programme around 10:30 am on Friday
The mayor also joined the volunteers from an organisation named BD Clean as they grouped in four units and began hauling waste from the canal.
He lauded them for sacrificing their weekend fun to join the programme. “These boys and girls were supposed to play and rest at home today. But they put those aside to take part in the cleaning task.”
Sections of the canal are completely or partially filled with garbage, mostly plastic materials.
During a visit to the area on Wednesday, Atiqul even walked on a garbage-filled section of the canal before announcing the programme.
At the launch, he said the waste will be removed first to ensure smooth water flow, and then the city corporation will demolish the illegal structures on the canal.
Atiqul said he had ordered everyone to remove their illegal structures from the canal during the visit, but the low-income people of the slums built on the canal asked for some time.
“I gave them a month to move their establishments elsewhere. The campaign will continue until all the waste is removed.”
Asking the locals to be more mindful of the canal’s cleanliness, he said: “Once launches used to move about in the Paris Canal. Today it has turned into a wasteland. The waste is so dense that there’s no water [flow] in the canal, and you can literally walk on it. The locals should be ashamed for filling the canal with waste.”
“Everybody says the city corporations do nothing to prevent waterlogging. I want to tell the residents of the area that if you stop dumping waste in the canal, the waterlogging issue will be fixed. You have to shoulder the responsibility along with the city corporation.”
Atiqul mentioned he received information that a large ring sells drugs along the canal.
To improve law and order, walkways will be built on the retrieved land of the canal after the waste removal and demolition drive, he said. If more space is available, the city corporation will establish a recreation park.