Speaker- M Zakir Hossain Khan
Following the “World Water Day 2019” this research adda was about equitable access to water supply and sanitation in urban slums mainly Dhaka city. With the World Water Day slogan “Leaving no one behind” in mind the discussion focused on how the marginalized people in a mega city are facing a terrible situation regarding water supply and sanitation.
On 28 July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights. The sixth SDG targets of UN is to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all, By 2030.
The water supply situation in Bangladesh/Dhaka City
Marginalized groups are facing the toughest challenges to get safe drinking water. In Bangladesh, there are six remote and backward areas where 30 million people are being deprived of safe drinking water (1144 unions of Varendra, Bill, Char, coastal haor and hilly areas).
In Bangladesh, Only 56% of the overall population has access to safe drinking water. In Dhaka city, slum dwellers are the most vulnerable in accessing safe water. Slum people don’t have any legal way to get safe water from the proper authority. They have to form a Community Development Organization (CDO) via NGOs. In Dhaka North City Corporation area, NGO provided more water connection to slum dwellers than WASA.
According to WHO, a minimum requirement of water for a person is around 120 litres per day, – the average per capita water use in the slum at Dhaka is around 40 litres per day. They even have to pay a higher price per litre than the rest of Dhaka city. On top of it, the quality of water gets worse and worse. According to the study shown here more than 80 percent, people complained that the water had a bad smell, as well as the water supply, gets interrupted throughout the day.
In each slum, uninterrupted water supply is not ensured yet and sometimes especially in dry season faced a serious struggle to get minimum requirements. As the water supply comes from an informal market no concerned organization is taking responsibility and most of the areas local ruling Party politically control the market. These people give out illegal connection and as a result, those with legal connection gets less water supply.
National Sanitation Strategy (2005) ensures that one latrine can be subjected to a maximum of 10 people (shared by two households). In Dhaka city slums sanitation is commonly shared, with the average ratio being 16 households (70 – 80 person) to one facility. This causes chaos almost every day in these areas which often leads to fist fights. The toilets do not have enough water supply and in most cases, the quality of toilet deteriorates quickly.
Waste management is also another huge issue. According to the study, 63 percent of respondents in DNCC slums said that no one collects waste from their slums. This gets slightly better in DSCC slums as 61% of respondents said that their waste is being collect every alternative day. Improper waste management is causing water logging in slums. Apart from Kolbagan and Shahidnagar slum, every other slum dweller faces severe water logging problem.
Poor water supply, as well as severe sanitation and hygiene problem, is deeply affecting public health in Dhaka city. Water-based diseases such as Jaundice, typhoid, Diarrhea is common among slum dwellers. Recently sweeping case chikungunya took people by surprise which is caused water logging in these low hygiene areas.