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Published on Nov 28, 2012
For thousands of years, Buriganga River has been the lifeline of the city of Dhaka, in Bangladesh. This river nourishes one of the most densely populated cities of the world before falling into the Bay of Bengal.
Today, a short vessel trip will reward any visitor with a sad landscape. Strong unbearable odor, black water and floating waste. Indiscriminate dumping of solid and toxic waste by industries and households have made the Buriganga one of the most polluted rivers in the world.
The riverbank inhabitants are contracting water born infections and skin diseases. Besides, due to pollution and climate change, the river flow has been shrinking.
The Government of Bangladesh realized the river pollution was having a high economic cost. The river could not be used as a transport route and diseases contracted by inhabitants had to be treated.
This was enough to launch a multi million project to clean the Buriganga river. Since 2008, Dhaka Water authority is working to bring water from Jamuna river, to increase the water flow. Besides, the government is working to remove all the solid waste accumulated in the riverbed.
The Poverty-Environment Initiative is providing technical support to the Water authority to ensure the project is undertaken in an environmental friendly way, that it includes local communities and that infrastructure built resists climate change. In other words, to make sure the project is Sustainable and fair.