The Bangladeshi government is funding a multi-million dollar project to clean two rivers, once regarded as the lifelines of Dhaka. The three-month project began on Wednesday.
[Hasan Mahmud, Bangladesh Environment Minister]:
"Today we have chosen to start the work of cleaning the rivers around Dhaka City, the rivers Buriganga and Turag. And this project is funded by the environment ministry by the fund Climate Change Trust Fund."
The water of the Buriganga and Turag rivers are now so polluted that all the fish have died, and increasing waste has turned the water into a black gel. Even the smell of the water is sometimes unbearable.
[Morshed Khan, Environmentalist]:
"This is a great day today because the government has taken up this cleaning program of this river, which really is dying, I mean absolutely dying. Its water is absolutely polluted. Its bed is full of polythene bags. There is an estimate there is about a fifteen feet layer of polythene bags accumulated on the bed of this river."
The multi-million dollar trust fund, which was approved in January 2009, was created to fund environmental projects related to climate change.
Other rivers in Bangladesh are also polluted. The country has about 230 small and large rivers, and most of the people depend on them for a living and for transportation.