About 57 percent of Dhaka dwellers would have gone to villages had there been employment opportunities and basic civic facilities like good education and healthcare, revealed a study by Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).
Respondents to the study have identified five most serious problems that make life in the capital distressing.
The study titled “A glimpse into life in Dhaka city” was conducted by a five-member team on behalf of the BIDS.
“Faced with various problems, over 44 percent of nearly one crore residents of the capital’s city corporation area suffer from depression, anxiety and mental illness,” said Zulfiqar Ali, a member of the team.
He made a presentation on the study on the closing day of a two-day seminar in the capital yesterday. The BIDS organised the programme on the findings of a number of research works.
According to the study, the top five problems identified by city dwellers are traffic jam, air pollution, lack of safe drinking water, bad road condition and waterlogging.
A total of 3,100 households (12,000 people), randomly chosen from 31 wards of Dhaka north and south city corporation areas, took part in the study. Over 95 percent of them said traffic jam is the most serious problem in the city.
Air pollution was identified as the second most serious problem by 66 percent respondents to the study, followed by lack of pure drinking water by 61 percent, bad road condition by 48 percent and waterlogging by 45 percent respondents.
They also pointed out four other major problems -- eve teasing, lack of safety, electricity and continuous gas supply.
“That apart, there is an extremely wide income inequality among the city’s residents,” said Zulfiqar.
Of the total income generated in the capital each month, the bottom 10 percent of the dwellers earns merely one percent, bottom 50 percent earns 18 percent while the top 10 percent earns 41 percent, he said.
Zulfiqar mentioned that over 72 percent of the city’s residents live in rented houses and 40 percent of the dwellers have salaried jobs.
With achieving education remaining a subject to affordability and parental background, one-third of the city dwellers are still illiterate, found the study.
It also identified that the per capita monthly medical expenditure in the city was Tk 7,417, in addition to an income loss of Tk 4,300 due to various acute and chronic diseases.
Syed Abdul Hamid, a professor of health economics at Dhaka University, said the issue of depression and mental health was fast emerging as a major threat to the society and this was time for paying serious attention to it.
Presenting the findings of another BIDS study titled “What makes you a Smart User of Smartphone,” Mohammad Golam Nabi Mozumder said use of smartphones by young children might also be productive if they were properly guided and dealt with by parents.
Noted urban researcher Prof Nazrul Islam chaired the session.