Jahangirnagar University urban planning professor and also general secretary of the Bangladesh Institute of Planners Adil Mohammed Khan said that different types of pollutions around the city created threats for Dhaka’s hygiene.
He said that water pollution from industrial wastewater or solid wastes were polluting water sources around the capital endangering public health.
Adil said that safe water was a precondition for hygiene but the quality of supplied water in the megacity was alarmingly contaminated as different studies unveiled the presence of E coli and coliform bacteria in water supplied for drinking.
He said that although the Dhaka WASA was the lone water supplying agency in Dhaka but a number of agencies were responsible for the pollution.
‘The Dhaka WASA cannot solely be blamed for the bellow quality of water when the sources of water get polluted by different agents,’ he said.
He argued that without ensuring safe water, discussions on hygiene was worthless.
He said that he was in doubt even about the quality of ground water which was receding every year by three metres.
‘Stop pollution and reserve waterbodies to get safe water,’ he said.
Adil observed that authorities concerned were uncaring about issues related to hygiene although they were directly connected to the public health.
The urban planner said that the city’s waste management was very much unhygienic all throughout — from house to the landfill.
He found that people had become accustomed to keeping waste in the house in an unhygienic manner. Collectors collect them without employing any safety measures and finally the city corporation dumps all types of waste together in landfills.
Adil said that public toilet in Dhaka were not available and we failed to make the ones that existed decent and hygienic for the people.
He said that private toilets in public establishments like mosques, hospitals and markets could be made public under an agreement between the parties in a win-win deal.
‘Until we are able to build enough public toilets we may use these toilets as public toilets,’ he said.
He also complained that the city corporations were drawing up projects of million dollars but were uncaring about low-cost but high-benefit issue such as hygiene.
Hygienic food was elusive for city people as different government studies showed that foods supplied in hotels and streets were not safe, hygiene was not maintained while making and serving food items.
He found that concerned authorities, including the city corporation was not giving priority to the issue.
He demanded integrated efforts of the agencies to ensure hygiene in the city, which would reduce the spread of diseases in the urban communities.
Waterborne diseases are more dangerous for an urban centre like Dhaka, which is densely populated and even polluted as it also has a huge number of low-income people living in unhygienic shelters including shanties and slums.
Primarily, he pointed out, people in the city had an acute lack of awareness about anything that had to do with hygiene and added that maintaining hygiene in practice was an imperative.
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