Abdullah Al Emran, Bagerhat
The youth, women, men of Rampal Upazila of Bagerhat district have demanded to stop the use of underground water, to dig large ponds, canals, reservoirs and retain rainwater in them, to create fresh water reservoirs in the coastal areas, to solve the shortage of fresh water in the coastal areas.
People of various professions including the affected people. The participants of the water rights campaign along the coast organized by Participatory Research and Action Network-PRAN, Badhon Manob Unnayan Sangstha and ActionAid Bangladesh with the theme 'Getting free safe and adequate water is my right' in Foilahat of Rampal Upazila made this demand yesterday
Ujalkur Union Parishad Chairman Munsi Borhan Uddin, Faylahat Business Association President Abdus Salam Howladar, Faylahat Fish association’s President Gazi Rashedul Islam Dalim, Ujalkur Union Awami League Joint General Secretary Mallik Moazzem Hossain, UP member Azaher Hossain Tuku, former UP member Sheikh Masum Billah spoke among others.
Besides, youth representatives of this area, civil society representatives, NGO representatives, journalists and public were also present at this time. Speakers said that the coast is under the threat of climate change. The salinity of coastal rivers is increasing. Coastal water sources are becoming undrinkable due to sea level rise.
As a result, the shortage of fresh water in the coastal districts is increasing. On other hand surface water has become unfit for drinking as a result of salinity, on the other hand even deep tube wells are not producing water due to falling ground water level. People in coastal areas are suffering from various diseases including diarrhea and cholera due to drinking contaminated water from rivers and ponds.
The health risks of pregnant women are increasing with convulsions, uterine problems. Women are subjected to various forms of oppression while collecting water from far and wide.
Therefore, it is urgent to ensure the supply of fresh water to the coastal areas. Although PSF (pond sand filter) and rainwater harvesting systems have been installed at various times by government and private enterprises, they are not adequate, while maintenance is lacking.
The speakers emphasized on taking long-term planning to ensure uninterrupted water supply as well as the right to fresh water to take into consideration the fresh water crisis of the coastal communities.