Environment, Sanitation and Water in Bangladesh
Human development and safety depends on having access to clean water, knowledge about hygiene and sanitary environment. According to the government, Bangladesh has already achieved a safe water supply and sanitary facilities for 80 percent of the population and improved the hygiene practices of 60 percent of the population by the help of UNICEF. While a multiple indicator cluster survey conducted in 2006 revealed that 39 percent of people had access to improved sanitation facilities. “Government figures are giving reasonable estimates of households that have a toilet of some description, but not necessarily conforming to the accepted slab and ring latrine which is a standard of improved sanitation,” Paul Edwards of UNICEF said.
“Half the slum is knee-deep in water during high monsoons. There is no electricity, no water supply. And the worst is that we do not have toilets,” said Tara Mia, a vegetable hawker who lives with his wife and three children in a Dhaka slum.
Around 70 percent of the population of Bangladesh live in rural areas and do not have adequate access to sanitation. Improving rural sanitation is a complicated challenge, which involves action on several fronts. Individuals need to be aware of how their behavior may damage the environment and what they need to do to protect their own and public health. This requires education aimed at young people as well as information campaigns targeted at all age groups.
Bangladesh Government is trying to achieve 100 percent sanitation coverage through regular supply of hardware and proper maintenance, with a sustained campaign on hygienic hand-washing habits by 2010.