The drain adjacent to the cardiac centre (from Shahbagh intersection to the Emergency entrance) of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) has been a source of severe pollution for several months, posing serious health hazards.
The drain is cleaned from time to time but not properly, with the waste from the drain left in the open on the pavement. Furthermore, most of the drain remains open and uncovered. Pedestrians and patients coming to the hospital have to endure the intolerable stench coming from the drain.
Due to poor street lighting, it is also risky for pedestrians to use the sidewalk next to the open drain at night. People often fall victim to snatchers.
All the wastes from the hospital canteen and other medical wastes are dumped in the drain while people and passersby throw wastes there as well. There is even a sewerage line connected to this drain. And although there are some iron grille coverings to the drain, they are broken in most places.
Mohammad Noor Alam, owner of Lamia General Store next to the Emergency entrance gate of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, told The Business Standard (TBS) that the drain was cleaned two days ago. It is cleaned occasionally but most of the time the dirt is left on the sidewalk next to the drain.
"Since the drain is open, our customers are reluctant to come to our store. Those who do come, they leave quickly to avoid the stench. We also find the stench overwhelming but have no choice but to accept it for the sake of our business," he said.
Selim Khan, who brought a patient to BSMMU, told TBS that such a situation right in front of the only medical university in the country is a shame. Even healthy people will get sick in this environment.
Mohammad Asaduzzaman, councillor of Dhaka South's ward-21, told TBS, "Metro rail work is underway here and according to the agreement, no maintenance and development work can be done in this area. The slabs are indeed broken and the environment is being polluted, but we cannot work here even if we want to."
"BSMMU authorities are responsible for the drainage in the medical area. I have talked to them unofficially at different times about solving this problem but they have not taken much of an initiative," he added.
Regarding the issue, BSMMU Vice Chancellor Prof Sharfuddin Ahmed said, "We have already started cleaning the drain. The grilles and slabs are frequently stolen within a few days of installation. We even covered the drain with sheet metal which was also stolen. Next time, we will have a full-time guard to ensure that no one steals anything."