Environmental threat as fly ash cargo sinks

Environmental threat as fly ash cargo sinks
02 January 2024

Bangladesh's cement industry saw disappointing news about the wastage of imported raw materials from India for the industry. The local lighter vessel carried 1422t of fly ash from India to a cement factory in the Ghorashal area of Bangladesh, sank in the Sibsa River near the Sundarbans on 29 December in Southern Bangladesh. All 12 crew members on board managed to swim ashore safely, but the cargo was wasted in the river,  

The "MV Garohera" lifted anchor from Haldia port in India and was heading to Mongla via Antihara waterway in the Sundarbans, said Mainul Hossain Mintu, vice president (Mongla unit) of Bangladesh Lighterage Workers Union. He told media "When the vessel reached the Nalian area on the Sibsa River around 2:00 pm, it hit a submerged sandbar, causing a breach in its hull. The vessel then tilted to one side and sank to the bottom of the river."

Mahfuzur Rahman Mukul, Khulna divisional coordinator of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela), said catastrophic environmental impacts could occur if the vessel and its cargo are not promptly salvaged. "Fly ash will not only contaminate the river and poison aquatic creatures but may also leach into landmasses, leading to toxicity of agricultural land and drinking water."

"Moreover, since the site of the capsize is very close to the Sundarbans, the biodiversity of the largest mangrove forest is also at peril."

Published under Cement News