Almost 100 percent water used by the slum people in Dhaka faces faecal contamination, which causes various diarrhoeal diseases and consequently, malnutrition, mostly to children, says a new study.
The contamination is caused basically after collection of water from the last point of water supply by the Water and Sewerage Authority (Wasa), it says.
"We are talking about safe water for all in the arena of Sustainable Development Goals [SDG], but the findings indicate a difficult situation," said Dr Manoj Roy, a lecturer at the Lancaster Environment Centre of the University of Lancaster, UK.
He presented the study, conducted early this year, at a discussion jointly organised by WaterAid Bangladesh, BRAC University, University of Lancaster and The Daily Star at the latter's conference hall in Dhaka today.
Researchers collected 480 water samples -- both from the last delivery point of WASA and after the households collected water -- from four slums of Dhaka.
Prof Abdur Rob Mollah of Zoology department at Dhaka University, a researcher of the study, said water samples collected by the slum dwellers after the last delivery point had 99 percent faecal contamination.
On the other hand, some 10 percent water at the last delivery point had faecal contamination, he told The Daily Star on the sideline of the discussion.
Some 30 percent of slum population [estimated 4 million] in Dhaka have access to Wasa's water supply.
Country Director of Water Aid Bangladesh Dr Khairul Islam, Stamford University Vice Chancellor Dr M Feroze Ahmed, Wasa Chairman Dr M Habibur Rahman, NGO Forum for Public Health’s Head of Advocacy and Information Joseph Halder, Bangladesh WASH Alliance Country Coordinator Alok Majumder, Programme Director of Centre for Science and Environment, India Dr Suresh Kumar Rohilla, The Daily Star Associate Editor Brig Gen (retd) Shahedul Anam Khan, among others, also spoke at the discussion moderated by Liakath Ali, director (programme and policy advocacy) at Water Aid Bangladesh.