Water March in Noakhali Subarnochar demanding for safe drinking water

With increased government allocation and investment, stopping the use of groundwater, digging large area-based ponds, canals and reservoirs to retain rainwater, creating freshwater reservoirs, the inhabitants including young people, women, men, communities affected by water crisis from Noakhali Subarnochar Upazila have demanded to ensure universal, equitable and sustainable access to clean water for the coastal communities of Bangladesh.

On the eve of International Human Rights Day 2022 today December 14, 2022 Wednesday the participants of the WaterMove Campaign in search of Ending Water Poverty in Coastal Bangladesh organized by Participatory Research and Action Network-PRAAN, Sagarika Samaj Undan Sanstha, and ActionAid Bangladesh under the theme ‘Water Rights are Human Rights | Ensure Water Rights of All Coastal People’ made this demand in Noakhali Subarnachar Upazila Parishad Circle.

The event was attended by Sagarika Somaj Unnayan Songstha Executive Director Md. Saiful Islam Sumon. Also present were Char Amanullah UP Member Md. Siddique Ullah, Subarnochar Press Club Secretary Abdul Bari Bablu, Ajker Potrika representative Mujahidul Islam Sohel. Representatives from different CSO’s working in Subarnochar also joined the event.

The speakers said that the right to water is an integral part of human rights. If the water rights of the coastal communities in Bangladesh are not protected, other basic human rights will also be undermined. Water crisis is not new in the coastal region of Bangladesh. Water rights of coastal communities are particularly threatened by including coastal location, overuse and unplanned use of limited natural resources and also exposure to the direct impact of global climate change. On the one hand, due to the increase in the sea level, the salinity of the water sources in increasing every day. On the other hand, the deep tube wells cannot provide drinking water as the ground water level is on decrease. A woman from effected community shared that, here is subarnochar, women manage the water needs of a family. They have travel far to collect water. On one side they have the pressure of household works, on the other side extra time and labour for driniking water.

Speakers also said that the people of the coast are suffering from other problems due to the shortage of fresh water. Many people are suffering from high blood pressure due to the use of salt water in daily activities including cooking and drinking water. In the case of women, various risks are increasing for pregnant women including convulsions, uterine problems. This year, with the onset of winter, the water crisis has started to intensify. The situation will reach its worst in March-April. Therefore, effective and timely measures should be taken urgently to ensure supply of fresh water to the coastal areas. Speakers emphasized on taking long-term planning to ensure uninterrupted water supply as well as right to fresh water to take urgent consideration of fresh water crisis of coastal communities.

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