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Bangladesh: Restoring rivers is a continuous struggle by Sheikh Rokon October 01,2021   |  Source: The Third Pole

The 2021 theme of World Rivers Day, observed on 26 September, was ‘waterways in our community’. At the online meeting organised for the occasion, SM Mizanur Rahman spoke for two minutes and then stopped. The man famed for his efforts in restoring rivers in Bangladesh could not see any point in continuing. For decades, Rahman – known as Mizan Bhai (Brother Mizan) to civil society in Bangladesh – has worked to restore the Boral River, which connects the Ganga and Jamuna (as the Brahmaputra is called in Bangladesh) and flows through the country’s largest wetland. In the past, Mizan Bhai has successfully opposed ill-planned development projects on this river that flows through four districts of northwest Bangladesh – Rajshahi, Natore, Pabna and Sirajganj. He has tirelessly done the rounds of policymakers, speaking against encroachments, sand mining, pollution, dams, sluice gates, everything that was killing the 220-kilometre-long Boral. Mizan Bhai persuaded the government to run projects that restored water flow on several stretches of the river. Three dams and thousands of encroachments were removed. At least eight projects were run to dredge the filled-up portions of the river. Many activists in Bangladesh see the movement as a model. But now all the work of the Boral

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