Kashfikun Nahar Adiba
Another term for water is life. In the twenty-first century, in a third-world developing country like Bangladesh, pure drinking water is so scarce that people from rural areas, as well as some areas of developing cities and towns, are forced to consume contaminated water. Although Bangladesh is a riverine country, a huge number of people suffer because there are shortages of water throughout the country. In the places that have a water supply, the pipelines that carry that water are old enough to turn the water yellow, making it undrinkable.
Some renowned places in Dhaka, especially in Farmgate, girls’ and boys’ hostels, have water lines so old and dirty that insects grow in that water; opening the tap may fill half a bucket with water and the rest with insects. Due to the high number of insects, dirt, and germs in the water, the students living in those hostels are forced to use the water by using sieves or strainers to separate the contaminated water from the insects to wash for general hygiene. This scenario is itself gruesome and revolting. Moreover, if they leave the taps closed, those tiny insects crawl out and take place in the sinks and mugs.
A student from a private university shared, “The insects were coming out of the showers too. We had to tie a cloth to the shower to strain the water to be able to use it. ” Another student living in Nibedika Girls’ Hostel said, “The same water used in the shower is also used for cooking, as it is the direct line from the water tank. The cooks have told us they strained the water before using it for cooking. But imagine for a moment: is it possible to be this careful while they are cooking for hundreds of people? One second of negligence would cause a serious hamper on our health. ” More than 250 students live in one hostel in the RH Home Center, situated in Farmgate. And there are more than a few similar hostels in this building.
Water is the ultimate element of hygiene and health. If the water is contaminated, undoubtedly, the standard of our health is also contaminated. A huge number of students, especially female students, face different kinds of diseases, infections, etc. because of using dirty, insect-filled water. Many students cannot come forward and speak openly about this issue due to existing taboos. Furthermore, different kinds of rashes and irritations to the skin, scalp, and eyes may easily occur from using this water. Dracunculiasis, also known as Guinea worm disease, occurs from ingestion of contaminated water, which results in a slight fever, itchy rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and dizziness, followed by the formation of painful blisters (typically on lower body parts).
According to the 2018 data published by WHO (World Health Organization), the rate of death due to diarrheal diseases has reached 31,028, which is 4% of the total deaths.
The main reasons for dirty and impure water are mismanagement of the buildings’ water lines and supply; the main water pipes of individual areas being rusty and old; irregular pipeline and water tank inspections from the city corporation; not cleaning water tanks regularly, etc.
The authorities from the city corporation must be aware of this serious matter. They should do in-time inspections. A written application for regular checkups and cleanings every six months must be approved. The government should take necessary and strict actions in order to resolve the contamination of water and the overall water supply. As netizens, we should be careful about our actions as well. We should not do anything to pollute our rivers or lakes that leads to the impurification of water. We should clean our water tanks regularly and replace old, rusty taps and pipes.
Water is nature’s gift. Rivers, lakes, and haors contain water, but it is our responsibility to ensure the water resources are taken care of, to ensure they are preserved. We must speak out and take action whenever any harm might eventuate. With the help of the Government and the authorities, this problem can be solved.
(The author Kashfikun Nahar Adiba is a student from the Department of English at the University of Asia Pacific)