By Haziq Qadri @haziq_qadri
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Most of the riverbed of the Buriganga River in Dhaka has been lost due to encroachment.
The Saderghat terminal is one of the largest river ports in the world and presently it suffers from factory and municipal waste dumped through the drains.
Mohammad Salem, who has worked on Saderghat terminal for the last 25 years said: "My father died on the same river due to the pollution. My health is deteriorating and also my kids are not well.
"I can’t do any other work. This is our family job and I can’t leave this.”
Buriganga River was once considered as the lifeline of Dhaka as hundreds of people earned their livelihood on the river.
Kalimullah who helps people cross the river in his boat earns £20 a day.
He said “Everyday the leather tanneries dump around 23,000 cubic liters of waste into Buriganga River.
“We live close to this river and use the water for cooking and drinking. This is killing us."
He added: "My wife is ill and doctors have advised us to shift to another place but that is impossible for us. I have a small boat and I earn out of it. I can’t get another job.”
According to the locals, the government is planning to relocate the tanneries outside the capital.
Muhammad Hafiz, a local resident said: “We have been promised that this river will be cleaned and we can live in peace. We can at least get clear water for drinking.”
Muhammad Tehmeem, a local fisherman also added that there is no fish or aquatic life in this river.
He said: “We don’t earn anything out of fishing now. This river is so polluted that there is not a single fish here. I am living with my brother and I am ashamed that I have to ask him for money.”