Monsoon, a lovely time to stay indoors and enjoy the weather but the real problem kicks in when people have to go outside and struggle with the rain and hence water everywhere. Children have to go to their schools; adults have to go for their work no matter how terrible the whole situation is. But in spite of this, there should be no denial that waterlogging in Dhaka and also the whole of Bangladesh is getting worse year by year. Although the citizens of Dhaka never drag their spirits down, but the problem ahead should also be addressed.
Waterlogging has been a major problem in Dhaka for quite some time now. The city is located on the southern edge of the Madhupur jungle terrace and is surrounded by rivers from all sides. A little rain causes serious problems for the low lying areas. And constant raining in the monsoon causes the water level in the river to rise. Insufficient drainage of water due to shortage of drains and canals causes many of the city’s low lying areas to be inundated for days. Sewage line and water drainage line merge in many places. Rapid urbanisation and thus construction in an unplanned manner leads to filling and blockage of the drainage pipes which eventually leads to water accumulation on streets. The drains also become dysfunctional due to deposition of shopping bags, polyethylene bags and other solid wastes. The open space of the city is being used by builders for commercial purposes. This means the water, which could have been absorbed by the soil in the open space, now have no place to settle and thus leads to flooding and water logging. The storm water drains that were designed years ago are now unable to carry the excess water down. Since most of the areas are paved, concreted or asphalted, very small amount of water is absorbed into the ground. And to add to all of this, climate change and irregular weather and rain patterns are aggravating waterlogging situation.
Waterlogging has a serious effect on the social economic and industrial development activities. It creates an unhealthy environment and causes inconveniences to the citizens. Not only are the roads submerged in knee-deep water but also the houses, especially the ground floors in some low lying areas, have rain water inside them. Accumulation of water invites traffic jam leading to more problems. Damage of infrastructure and loss of business of both the rich and poor, in a third world country like Bangladesh, is really alarming. The mixing of rain water and sewage water causes serious health and hygiene issues. Awful diseases rise, putting economy more down. Due to the blurry and nasty water on the roads, it becomes almost impossible to see the roads which eventually lead to many accidents.
Now comes the main question, can this waterlogging problem be really solved. People have suffered immeasurably. The government should start making rapid improvements of the situation. Although the improvement of the drainage system is one of the highest priorities of the Pourashavas, but little has been done to solve the problem. Proper maintenance of drainage facilities should be ensured. The government should start the cleaning work of the drainage pipes, thus clearing the passage for water flow. It should also plan to have open space around the city, so that excess rainwater can deposit there. Any such action plan should be chalked out after necessary discussion and consultation with other agencies concerned. Individuals can also contribute by harvesting rainwater at household level. If the government makes it mandatory for house owners and landlords to create rainwater harvesting system whenever they construct their houses, it could be a great initiative.
Unawareness and lack of responsibility of the city’s citizens has made the waterlogging problem more acute. Coordination among citizens, government and the related agencies can be of immense help in executing the plans smoothly and to establish sustainable development.