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Bangladesh – Water for cities: Responding to the urban challenge

Water for cities: Responding to the urban challenge

Access to safe water and sanitation is the daily battle for the dwellers living in rapidly growing cities, especially in slums. Dhaka, one of the world’s fastest growing mega-cities is facing abysmal challenges to ensure the right to safe water and sanitation for its people. Experts urged to fill the fissures in the water management plan to cope with the growing number of population and meet the target of Millennium Development Goals.

One out of four city residents worldwide, 789 million in total, lives without access to improved sanitation facilities and 497 million people in cities rely on shared sanitation. The poor in cities receive the worst services, paying up to 50 times more per litre of water than their richer neighbours because they usually have to buy their water from private vendors.

In order to focus the international attention on the impact of rapid urbanisation, industrialisation and uncertainties on urban water systems, World Water Day will be observed tomorrow. This year’s theme, “Water for cities: Responding to the urban challenge” aims to spotlight and encourage governments, organisations, communities and individuals to actively engage in addressing the defy of urban water management.

Slums dwellers, 30 to 50 percent of total Dhaka residents are continuously facing hurdles to access safe water and proper sanitation. The situation is getting more complicated by consistent burden of the new migrants who arrive every day. Nearly 40 percent of world’s urban expansion is growing slums that threatens outbreak of diseases like Cholera, Diarrheoa, Malaria.

Along with existing population, around 2,100 people migrating to Dhaka everyday need potable water, sanitation services, and a wastewater system that keeps the city free of disease and ensures sustainable development. Governments, policymakers, municipalities and civil society need top work harder and plan better to deal with the ever growing water and sanitation needs of everyone. Water, after all is life and sanitation is dignity.

March 19, 2010 – Daily Star

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