Vol. 4 Num 261 Fri. February 20, 2004  

'5m city people have no access to safe water, sanitation'

About 50 lakh city people including the urban poor do not have access to safe water and sanitation, said the speakers at a workshop yesterday.

They said co-ordinated efforts are needed to face the challenge of the millennium goal ensuring hundred percent safe water and sanitation facilities in the country by 2010.

The workshop on 'Water and Sanitation Issues of the Urban Poor' was organised by the Environment and Population Research Centre (EPRC), Dhaka Water and Sewerage Authority (DWASA) and the Institute of Advance Studies (IAS) of the United Nations University, Japan.

State Minister for LGRD and Co-operatives Ziaul Haque Zia attended the workshop as chief guest while WASA Chairman M A Hakim and Katsunori Suzuki of IAS as special guests.

The state minister stressed the need for creating mass awareness as many people even in rich group in the country do not use sanitary latrine due to lack of social 'consciousness'.

"The WASA has increased its supply of water. But we have to look for alternative sources as ground water level of the capital is rapidly going down," he added.

Katsunori Suzuki stressed the need for developing appropriate technologies considering the respective community's economic and environmental condition.

He said general health education is very important to solve the sanitation problem.

In the daylong workshop, the participants presented five papers on existing problems in water and sanitation sectors.

EPRC Chairperson Bilquis Amin Haque placed some recommendations to resolve the existing problems.

She cited the example of a model project at Baunia in Mirpur in the city for the urban poor.

In her recommendations Bilquis Amin laid emphasis on the selection of appropriate technology, access to tap water for slum dwellers, and co-ordination among the NGOs working with the urban poor in this field.

She said the sanitation problem could be resolved to a great extent providing technology according to economic and environmental condition of a particular community.

WASA Managing Director A N H Akhter Hossain also spoke on the occasion.