Bangladesh’s position in the Global Human Development Index will improve if the sanitation crisis is resolved, say speakers at a workshop
Speakers at a workshop have urged the government and stakeholders from the private sector to come forward to find an immediate solution to the lingering sanitation crisis in the country.
Expressing concern over the country’s sanitation system, especially in Dhaka, they have said that there were no modern and user friendly public toilets in the capital – leaving the general people, mostly women and people from the transgender community to suffer.
Their take on the matter came at a workshop jointly organized by Bhumijo, Brac and Swedish Institute Alumni Network’s Bangladesh chapter at the Brac Centre Inn in Dhaka on Sunday.
Farhana Rashid, founder and CEO of Bhumijo, moderated the workshop on “Inclusive Urban Sanitation for Inclusive cities.”
The speakers also said that even though Bangladesh’s economy was growing, its cities were not designed to facilitate the people with their basic needs, such as proper urban sanitation.
They added that the country’s position (currently 136th) in the Global Human Development Index would improve if the sanitation crisis was resolved properly and soon.
Addressing the program, Swedish Ambassador to Bangladesh Charlotta Schlyter emphasized better facilities for women when it came to public toilets and sanitation.
Saying Bangladesh and Sweden had been enjoying good bilateral ties for a long time, she added that her country wanted to retain that trend through various development works.
Dr Tariq Bin Yusuf, a superintending engineer of Dhaka North City Corporation, said that 20 modern public toilets were set up in different areas under DNCC and 13 in areas under Dhaka South City Corporation for the people.
“We also plan to set up 100 such modern toilets across Dhaka, but we are facing a number problems including scarcity of suitable land. However, we have received some funding from the World Toilet Organization to improve the toilet and sanitation situation, and the work for that will start very soon,” he added.
He also urged people to come forward with their opinions and ideas about locations for more public toilets.
Dr Mahnaz Islam Moitry, resident physician at Dhaka Medical College Hospital’s Nephrology Department, told the workshop that a large number of people, mostly women, in the city suffer from kidney diseases as they cannot urinate whenever needed while travelling due to the lack of public toilets.
Bhumijo Co-Founder Md Masudul Islam said that they were working to resolve the toilet and sanitation crises across the country and their initiatives have already begun in Narayanganj and Rangpur.
“We will set up at least 2,000 modern public toilets over the next five years,” he said, adding that much support from the government and other stakeholders were needed to finish their project.
He said: “With Brac’s support, we recently built a modern toilet for women at Dhaka’s Gausia. We are also building a community toilet at Kalyanpur with financial aid from Brac and Unilever to address the crisis.”