Climate change is increasingly making it difficult to implement sustainable water sanitation and hygiene programmes in the coastal and haor regions, said experts.
Increasing water salinity along the coast, increase in arsenic level, rising bacterial contamination and lack of land suitable for digging pits to install sanitary latrines are the main problems in this regard, they said.Speakers revealed the alarming picture at a workshop titled “Sustainable WASH: Grassroots Experience and Way Forward“ at BRAC Centre in the capital on Wednesday, said a press release. BRAC organised the workshop to strengthen the WASH programmes focusing on these regions.
The speakers further said the added problems in the hilly terrains and hard-to-reach localities are intense water shortage and unavailability of cost-effective and sustainable WASH technologies.
Effective solutions to these problems must be put in place through strengthening mass awareness and integrated initiatives to reach the SDG-6 of ensuring universal access to safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene practices, they added.
Peter De Vries, first secretary to the Dutch Embassy, Dr Khairul Islam, country representative of Water Aid, SMA Rashid, Executive Director of NGO Forum for Public Health, Md Shofiqul Alam, specialist of WASH at the UNICEF, Bangladesh, Mohammad Golam Muktadir, executive engineer of Department of Public Health Engineering, and Dr Md Akramul Islam, director of BRAC’s Communicable Disease and WASH Programme, were present at the workshop.
Dr Muhammad Musa, executive director of BRAC, gave the welcome speech at the programme while Dr Muktadir Kabir, programme head of BRAC’s WASH and malaria programmes, made a keynote presentation.
Adequate number of cleaning staff is essential for the places and establishments where there are public gatherings to keep environment hygienic, Dr Khairul Islam observed, saying that, “But cleaning staff in Bangladesh has a high rate of dropping out. We have to give more effort and increase spending to retain cleaning staff.”Peter De Vries said, “We understand that this sector is in need of an investment boost. My government’s investments will continue in this sector. But we are more interested in investing in innovative solutions, capacity building and effective management.”