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Need for Ponds and Hydrant system for fire fighting

Published : Monday, 18 March, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 627

Need for Ponds and Hydrant system for fire fighting

Need for Ponds and Hydrant system for fire fighting

A fire hydrant is basically a pipe with the control of a valve through which water flows from a water main in order to put out a fire. A fire hydrant is a visible connection point placed in defined locations for firefighters to tap into a water supply.

Dhaka city has seen a spike in fire incidents in the past few months and after every major incident, firefighters talk about the wrongly constructed building, shortage of water and water reservoirs in fire locations.

The very recent fire at a commercial building at Baily Road and death of more than 50 persons pointed to the corruption and reluctance of authorities about their responsibilities. The commercial building on small plot of land and building approved and constructed with only one very narrow staircase but without any emergency exist.

One building in this area has one staircase but that was given for the use of one fast food shop and not for common use of the other customers. It means the visitor has only the optionof usinglift to go up and down to other floors.

The second point raised violations ofthe building code and alsobuilding constructed without permission of the relevant authorities. It is hard to believe that everything is happeningin front of the nose of very powerful authorities. The building structures are sufficient to understand the either buildings are constructed beyond the approved design or the approval is not as per safety and security standard of the departments. Can the regulators avoid their responsibility of negligence of duties and corruption?

According to standard, ponds and tanks should comprise about 10% of total inland water area. These ponds and tanks have great ecological, economic, commercial and socio-economic importance and value in Bangladesh.
The type of life in a pond is generally determined by a combination of factors including water level regime (particularly depth and duration of flooding) and nutrient levels. Other factors may also be important, including presence or absence of shading by trees, presence or absence of streams, effects of grazing animals and salinity. Construction activities are a major source of suspended sediments that enter ponds through urban runoff. Occupying water bodies, open spaces, playgrounds and parks is a punishable offence, according to the Environment Conservation Act.

Need for Ponds and Hydrant system for fire fighting

Need for Ponds and Hydrant system for fire fighting

Water reservoirs or ponds are gradually diminishing in the capital. The importance of these reservoirs comes to the fore whenever there is a fire disaster. According to the statistics of the Fisheries Department, there were about 2,000 ponds in Dhaka in 1985, which now came down to about 100 only.In another report of the fire service, there were 100 ponds in the capital Dhaka in 2018. This number has decreased to 29 in 2023. Therefore, in the last five years, 71 ponds have been filled up in Dhaka. Hundreds of ponds and other water bodies were grabbed and filled in the last two decades in the port city Chattogram and other cities.

Ponds are very useful for maintaining the environment and balancing of the land use. Ponds are natural ormanmade shallow water bodies which hold water permanently or temporarily.Ponds also are important reservoirs for rainwater in the dry season and contribute to the weather and ecosystems of the city.Ponds are important toplace for biodiversity. Collectively, they support more species, and more scarce species, than any otherfreshwater habitat. The critical effects of the pond fill are the loss of biodiversity, serious environmentaldegradation, Water logging, urban flooding, and loss of valuable water resources.

In a case, the High Court of Bangladesh has ordered that, in every city, there should be a Committee of Water Body Conservation and Monitoring, headed by the Deputy Commissioner of the District. The main function of this committee is to conserve and monitor the marked and listed water bodies, so that these cannot be filled in or changed in classification without prior permission from the proper authority, under the Environment Conservation Act 1995.

There are some more writ petitionsregarding filling up the ponds and the judgment dated 04.08.2016 passed in Wit Petition No. 9801 of 2012 and the judgment dated 05.03.2020 passed in Writ Petition No. 14538 of 2012were made absolute with certain directives upon the concerned respondents to take steps for preservation and protection of the water bodies of the country.

The law also prevents people from using the water for commercial purposes without permission from the Department of Environment (DoE).The High Court directed the government to include the ponds those are recorded as privately owned in the city corporation areas, divisional cities, district towns and municipal areas across the country under the definition of natural reservoir. The High Court bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman passed the direction while delivering a verdict upon hearing a writ petition.Asaduzzaman Siddique on behalf of a rights organisation, Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB), filed the writ petition with the High Court in 2012 challenging the legality of encroachment and earth filling of a pond situated at Kotwali police station area under Barishal City Corporation. The court asked the environment secretary to publish a gazette notification to this effect within one year after receiving the verdict.

The number of reservoirs in Dhaka is decreasing. Organisations concerned must take effective measures. It has become urgent.Bangladesh also may consider installation of "water hydrant system" in the city area.Water hydrants are considered the best solution in places which lack adequate water reserves. In developed countries, water hydrants are set up at different places to counteract emergency situations.

A fire hydrant is basically a pipe with the control of a valve through which water flows from a water main in order to put out a fire. A fire hydrant is a visible connection point placed in defined locations for firefighters to tap into a water supply. All buildings, parking areas, roadsides, mines, industrial areas, etc. must have fire hydrants with a connection to a water service network. They are designed to provide the water required by firefighters instantly to fight and extinguish a fire.

Fire Fighting Hydrant Systems are the most commonly used systems, in many residential and industrial projects in developed countries. A "Red" colour pipe, circulating around a building or factory is the fire hydrant pipe.

 Fire service may instantlyswitch on and shoot water up to 8stories high or more. This is a very effective extinguishing system suitable for various plants and high-rise buildings as well as commercial complexes. The system mainly consists of water storage reservoir (underground or aboveground), pump set, piping ring around the building and terminals inside the building, hydrant valves, hoses, branch pipes with nozzles and hose boxes. On the ring main the hydrant stand posts are provided with hydrant valves.

Reportedly, 870 WASA pumps have fire hydrants in it but they believe it is not WASAsduty to set up the same on city roads. In fact, the fire hydrants should be part of the city plan. Bangladesh Fire Service, WASA and RAJUK may work in co-ordination to plan, design and implement the Hydrant system in the city.

All the building should be inspected and the designed should be evaluated to identify the persons responsible for the death of innocent citizens.  

The writer is a Non-Government Adviser, Bangladesh Competition Commission

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