Safe drinking water — a basic human right

14 May, 2019 12:00 AM printer

When we talk about rights, one of the first is our right to live. When people are denied safe drinking water, it is infringing on their basic right to live. How can a state-run organisation called WASA do such a crime? The other issue is why all space scientists look for water even in the distant planets to ascertain if life can sustain there. Availability of adequate drinking water for comfortable living conditions varies in different regions on earth. Bangladesh is blessed with bountiful of water bodies like rivers, canals, beels, haors, lakes and ponds scattered all over the country. But unfortunately due to misuse and lack of care for this most valuable of all resources, there is dire shortfall in water supply during the hot summer months. This leads to extreme sufferings of hundreds of thousands of city dwellers, which is totally unacceptable.

Denial by state-run WASA authorities of water shortages in some parts of the city is like the habit of the ostrich which hides its head in the sand faced with imminent danger. Such denial will not solve the problem recurring almost every year around the same time. If sufferings of people are prolonged, then strong actions must be taken against all those responsible for it. Continuous shortage or substandard quality of water supplied by the authority shows their lack of responsibility to duty and concern for people’s health.

The areas facing water supply problems are more densely populated than other affluent areas of the city. Therefore, the sufferings of people are manifold. Also the fasting month of Ramadan falling in the hottest summer month has made the hardship of people even worse. But Ramadan does not come upon us unknowingly. Its fixed time and duration is known to all well ahead of arrival. So if any persisting problem existed it should have been fixed beforehand.

Conservation of water bodies could alleviate the situation during the hot summer months before the rains begin to lower the heat. For the sake of national health and hygiene all people must have access to clean drinking water. Authorities should not be in denial and have a mindset of being able to get away without paying heed to people’s basic needs. Right to pure water is not for the elites only, it is the most basic human right which must be established and upheld in this country of plentiful water.