One doesn’t need to be an aqua expert to know that drinking water supplied by the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) in most parts of the city is not safe for human consumption, because the supplied water looks as filthy as it tastes. At a time when Dhaka residents were suffering from acute tap-water crisis, one comment by a top official on the quality of WASA water angered its clients.
A group of Dhaka city residents rightly protested inviting WASA Managing Director to taste lemon juice made with water supplied by WASA. Interestingly, the MD has maintained a safe distance from drinking the water he had claimed “100 per cent pure and perfectly drinkable!” His comment not only insulted the public’s intelligence but also made a mockery of their sufferings, which is regrettable to say the least.Meanwhile, the High Court stepped in and ordered the Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) to examine the quality of water supplied by WASA. But it seems that LGRD ministry is dillydallying as it sought four months time to examine the WASA water. Why so much time is needed to examine only 22 bottles of water from 11 zones in Dhaka is beyond our comprehension, the court also termed it as ‘irresponsible’ behaviour.
Earlier the Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institution (BSTI) found that WASA water contains bacteria and dissolved solid substance. Experts claimed that chlorine which is used to kill bacteria may regenerate harmful compounds after mixing up with other organic matters and these regenerated compounds like trihalomethane (THM) cause serious health hazard. Another expert holds that long-term ingestion of chlorine accelerates aging, increases cancer risk and interferes with cholesterol metabolism. Add to this, WASA’S treatment method is outdated and cannot deal with numerous toxic properties.
It was hoped that amidst widespread public outcry WASA would re-examine the quality of the water it had been supplying and try to improve it. Instead, WASA MD went on to publicly call one of the leaders of the protest for safe water as ‘mentally sick’. This is outrageous.
WASA is supposed to be busy to win back the confidence of city-dwellers by supplying safe drinking water. Its underground pipeline is said to be old and decaying. One wonders why WASA is still sitting tight without taking emergency measures to its water “100 percent pure and fit to drink!”