DHAKA, Bangladesh — In 2010, the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for drinking water was met…five years ahead of schedule.
At the start of the new century, the U.N. convened and created eight MDGs with hopes of significantly reducing global poverty. One of the goals aimed to cut in half the number of individuals globally without access to safe drinking water by 2015.
Astoundingly, this goal proved to be more than attainable. In fact, the WHO reports that between 1990 and 2015, over 2.6 billion people around the world gained access to safe water.
Despite such impressive progress, 663 million people still rely on potentially unsafe water for their everyday needs. Drinking water from unimproved sources and living in poor sanitation conditions can lead to illnesses such as dysentery, diarrhea, cholera and typhoid.
Unfortunately, the WHO estimates that around 842,000 individuals die each year from diarrhea alone.
Water Quality in Bangladesh
The MDGs have helped many countries combat the issue of unsafe drinking water, but areas like Bangladesh still fight for clean, accessible water and sanitation.
In 1990, around 26 percent of Bangladesh’s population depended on unimproved drinking water. Six percent had access only to surface water. Almost one in three people used water from unsafe sources. Only 34 percent of the population could access improved sanitation facilities. With such a large reliance on unsafe water and poor sanitation, many Bangladeshis were in low health and extremely at risk for disease.
Organizations Working on the Ground
Thankfully since the MDGs, 87 percent of the population now has access to improved water. There are also several organizations working on the ground to further improve the water quality in Bangladesh. A few of these groups include:
Charity:Water drills or hang-digs wells, installs piped water systems for those in need, and has completed over 1600 water projects serving 441,654 people in Bangladesh alone.
In 2000, Bangladesh discovered that a portion of their wells was contaminated with arsenic. Lifewater marked these wells, purified the water, and educated rural citizens on proper water conservation and sanitation practices.
WaterAid focuses on improving Bangladesh’s vulnerability to natural disasters. Every year during flooding season, a portion of the population loses access to clean water and proper sanitation. WaterAid helps build water and sanitation facilities that are more resistant to flooding. They also help raise awareness about citizen’s rights to proper water and sanitation.
The improvements of the last 25 years have done wonders for nations across the globe and satisfied the MDG for water quality. Aid from organizations like Charity:Water, Lifewater, WaterAid and the gains made by the MDG have been invaluable.
The world still has work to do to improve the water crises in Bangladesh. Bangladeshi locals still face flooding, contaminated wells, and industrialization waste. Forty percent of the population lacks access to proper sanitation facilities. Water conditions need to remain a major focus, but prioritizing sanitation could further increase health and water quality in Bangladesh.
– Weston Northrop