Radio talk show on World Water Day 2016
Regular radio talk show Bigyan o Poribesh (Science and Environment), on-aired twice in every month at the government owned radio channel Bangladesh Betar. It is on-aired on 19 March 2016 and hosted (moderator and script writer) by Aminul Islam Sujon.
Being as moderator, I’ve provided introduction and introduced guest speakers. Worldwide, 22 March is widely celebrating as World Water Day. Relation between water and environment is very deep. All lives are dependent on water. Water can save lives and make sure to born new lives. On the other hand, polluted water causes to death. Globally, only 3% water is drinkable and 97% water is salty water which is not drinkable. Most of drinking water we collect from ground water. Due to unplanned urbanization and industrialization, surface water (rivers, canals, lakes, ponds etc.) massively polluted and grabbed for illegal construction. That increases pressure to the ground water.
This radio talk show dedicated upcoming World Water Day 2016, and it’s titled ‘Role of water based employment to save water bodies and environment’.
I have invited guest speaker from NGO Forum for Public Health, Advocacy and Information Manager, Mr. Shaha Dipak Kumar. The question I asked him about the importance of World Water Day and how this Day would be useful to show importance of water and how nation is going to celebrate this Day.
Mr. Shaha Dipak Kumar provided the background information of World Water Day that declared in 1993 at the 47th conference of United Nations, since than this Day is celebrating in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is known as rivers and water based country. But rivers are in bad condition due to increasing pollution and reducing depth due to siltation of river. Pollution is increasing due to people unethical activities. Siltation is natural, but regional (inter-country) politics is another reason as most of Bangladeshi rivers are international rivers (around 52 to 54 rivers) which come through India. We don’t have control of these rivers. Grabbing rivers is another major reason. Rivers are polluted due to human waste, industrial waste and sewerage system which directly go to the river. Only 15 to 20% human waste of Dhaka is treated and more than 80% untreated waste goes to the water bodies and rivers. This Water Day is the opportunity for us to create more awareness to stop pollution and grabbing among mass people to policy makers and in particular the government institutes related to river, water and environment. We appeal to everyone to think about river.
Dhaka is surrounded by rivers, but to ensure water supply to household at Dhaka, we are planning to bring water from Padma (near to Aricha) or Meghna. If surrounded rivers water is usable, then we don’t need to bring water from far away by spending huge amount of money. If in future, Padma and Meghna rivers became polluted, than where we will go? So those are concerned about water and environment, they should come forward to save rivers from all kind of pollution. I would also urge to those government authorities who are concerned for water, river and environment for being pro-active & supportive to us and join the environment movement.
I’ve invited to another guest speaker is eminent environmentalist Mr. Abu Naser Khan, who founded environmental movement in Bangladesh and Chairman of Poribesh Bachao Andolon (POBA- Save the Environment Movement). The question to Abu Naser Khan is that, Bangladesh is known as Country of Water, but there are several crises arose. How these crises can be solved and what is your expectation and suggestion on this?
Mr. Abu Naser Khan has mentioned two main different sources of water in Bangladesh, one is the rain and another is the water from upstream. Upstream water source is Himalaya that linked China, Bhutan, Nepal and India. But all these rivers flow to Bangladesh through India and go to Bay of Bengal. That means, upstream water come through all 54 international rivers and that water goes to sea. Rain water is another major source of water in Bangladesh, this water move to the ground through canals, rivers, lakes and other water bodies. So, we have to look after water sources, upstream water and rain water.
Four major problems of rivers and water bodies have been found in Bangladesh. First, most of the water bodies are illegally grabbed in particular near to the cities. Second, aggressive agriculture policy destroy many water bodies as bring these into cultivate crops and using many pesticides which pollute nearest water bodies. Third, bottom of the rivers to be filled. Fourth is water pollution.
So if we need to save water, all water bodies should be protected from grabbing first. Then, there should be foreign policy that would ensure water flow from upstream in inter-country rivers. Due to the reduced water flow, the siltation increases. So, to ensure water flow in all inter-country rivers in Bangladesh, we have to focus all inter-country rivers. There is Farakka agreement, but this agreement is necessary for all other inter-country rivers following by international law.
However, all water bodies inside in Bangladesh should be protected. I think as Bangladesh is known as water based country, but we never provide importance to water. Rather we through water bodies as nuisance. we treat water bodies as valueless land. Bangladeshis ecosystem is developed based on these water bodies. Bangladeshis agriculture and economy are strengthened due to these water bodies. So if water bodies and rivers are destroyed, those will effects our ecosystem, agriculture and economy. As fish is major source for nutrition that will also be affected if water is polluted and water bodies are reduced whereas, industries also need water.
We have to think about the effective use of water which is important, how we can be benefitted though using less water. 220 litters water is used to produce one Jeans pant only, 4 litters water is used to produce only one page A4 size paper. So, how we are using our valuable water, that should be look after with proper plan. On the other hand, unplanned urbanization and industrialization is major causes of water pollution. This pollution doesn’t not only affect water and environment, it also causes to several diseases. Surface water pollution is destroying ground water quality that will be threat for drinking water in future.
That is why we demanded to the government to protect water bodies from all types of pollution and grabbing, and ensure water flow from upstream sources. At the same time, government should encourage people to preserve water sources that are our expectation.
Again, as moderator, I’ve concluded radio talk show with brief summary of the discussions. We have to protect all water bodies. Water also creates million employments, such as fisher man – those are totally based on water and water bodies. Water is important for agriculture and huge labor force is involved in this sector. Food security is dependent on water. Water related transportation reduces pollution and cost of people and at the same time ensures many people’s employment. So that all types of water bodies should be save from pollution and grabbing – that is our expectation on World Water Day 2016.
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