Corruption cuts people’s access to safe water: experts

Staff Correspondent | Published: 02:03, Nov 18,2019


Speakers at a discussion on Sunday raised demand for accountability and transparency in the water, sanitation and hygiene services citing rampant corruption as the cause for shrinking of people’s access to safe water.

Bangla-language daily Bhorer Kagoj and NGO Forum for Public Health in cooperation with Water Integrity Network organised the discussion on water, sanitation and hygiene and sustainable development goals at Bhorer Kagoj office in the capital.

The industries were not held accountable for dumping waste in the rivers because of corruption, said the experts.

Local government minister Tazul Islam as the chief guest said that corruption would not go overnight as it had infected all strata of the society. He said no sewerage treatment facilities made the situation unbearable.

NGO Forum for Public Health executive director SM A Rashid said, ‘44 per cent of the people have no access to safe water and 2 per cent no basic water coverage.’

He said one third in the country had no proper sanitation.

Single pit latrine and shared latrine would delay the attainment of the goals, said public health engineering department’s chief engineer Saifur Rahman.

Bangladesh Water Development Board director (ground water hydrology) Anwar Zahid blamed the nonoperation among the responsible agencies in the sector for the situation.

Simavi country director Alok Majumder said that only 8 per cent of ground water was used for drinking while 85 per cent for agricultural production. ‘The indiscriminate use of ground water bodes ill,’ he said.

VERC executive director Yakub Hossain called for area-based budgetary allocation as some areas are prone to arsenic and salinity and others lack drinking water.

Bhorer Kagoj editor Shyamal Dutt moderated the discussion where several public health and development experts spoke.

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