Community initiatives for the management of riverbank erosions are more effective than large projects, said speakers at a webinar on Thursday.
"Large projects are carried out by contractors who do not take enough precautions when building structures for riverbank protection," said Professor Munsur Rahman of Institute of Water and Flood Management at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, citing a study.
"Contractors waste construction materials. On the other hand, communities who live near riverbanks are much more cautious and work seriously."
Change Initiative and Oxfam Bangladesh jointly organised the webinar on "Riverbank erosion management: Comparison of large projects and community-led initiatives".
People have a vested interest and feel a sense of ownership in a project because they know it can potentially save their lives and protect their assets, Professor Munsur Rahman continued.
Addressing the webinar as the chief guest, National River Conservation Commission (NRCC) Chairman Dr Muzibur Rahman Howlader said that the people who reside near a river are desperate to save their valuables at any cost, so they undertake riverbank protection initiatives on their own.
Though a number of development organizations come forward to help, the government should also step in to support these community-based initiatives, he added.
The NRCC head said that although community-led initiatives do occasionally yield positive outcomes, attempting to control river currents may not be wise, as it could potentially disrupt normal flow and cause rivers to narrow.
For better understanding, further investigation is warranted through studies and analyses, he emphasised.
Many others spoke at the webinar and shared their viewpoints and insight.