“There are no living things in this water: not even an insect can survive here.”
Abdul Karim is a boatman on the Buriganga River that runs through the heart of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and he is just one of many people in Dhaka interviewed for this fascinating new film about Bangladesh’s water crisis produced by ARC’s partner, Faith Regen Foundation.
“All manner of waste is thrown,” Karim says. “Fish from this river was the main source of food for the people of Dhaka. [But} this water is extremely poisonous now and has destroyed everything. Children get sick easily from this polluted water”
In terms of water supply, Bangladesh one of the most vulnerable countries on earth. In 1998, for example, a horrifying 75 percent of the land was completely submerged.
Faith Regen and ARC hope that an educational film it is a useful resource for human geography and economics and development classes in schools and universities around the world, as well as for city planners, NGOs and UN policy makers.
Because Bangladesh, a country of more than 700 rivers, and a capital city which (at 400,000 extra people a year) has one of the most rapidly expanding populations anywhere in the world is one of the first places to see the crises that come from glaciers in the Himalayas melting and the trauma that can come from climate change.
But it will not be the last. If governments and communities can get things right in Bangladesh, then they have a chance to get things right in other countries, when the crises hit there as well.
Statistics-- Agriculture uses 80 percent of the groundwater in Bangladesh. -- There are more than 700 rivers in Bangladesh. -- Fewer than one percent of the rural population have access to clean water. -- Since 1970s the number of tubewells in Dhaka has increased by 1000 percent. -- Dhaka people now need 2.2 billion litres of water per day - supply consistently falls short of demand by 200 million litres a day or more.
Steps people can take to reduce the crisis
1. Maximising soil moisture from showers. 2. Planting crops needing less water than traditional rice paddy. 3. Using surface rather than groundwater. 4. Taking steps to conserve water – shorter showers, ensure every tap is turned off and not leaking, harvesting rainwater in wet months…. and storing it for the dry season in April/May. 5. Stopping using the ponds as latrines. 6. Stopping throwing trash into water. 7. Stopping industry polluting the rivers and ponds. 8. Treating the country's water as a resource given by Allah, not to be wasted... and teaching others to treat it in the same way.