Dhaka's Challenge: A Megacity Struggles with Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
In 2010, the Pulitzer Center of Crisis Reporting launched Dhaka’s Challenge: A Megacity Struggles with Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, a project spearheaded bythe Executive Director of the Pulitzer Center Jon Sawyer and Emmy Award Winner Stephen Sapienza.
Bangladesh is considered the world’s most densely populated country with 2,639 people per square mile. And its capital, Dhaka, is expected to add five million people in the next ten years, straining already inadequate infrastructure.
As this megalopolis grows, clean water supplies and effective sewage removal will be critical to the health and success of Dhaka. Today, some 4 million squatters who live in slums do not have legal access to basic services, such as safe water and toilets. Almost two-thirds of the Dhaka’s sewage is untreated and left to seep into waterways and the ground. The results of life in these filthy and sub-human environs are not surprising: each year thousands upon thousands of people in Bangladesh, including 50,000 children, die of cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, and other waterborne diseases.
This reporting project looked at the water, sanitation and hygiene problems that Dhaka is facing today, as well as the people and grassroots projects who are pioneering simple, effective life-saving solutions to the mounting sanitation and hygiene challenges of this mushrooming megacity.
Contributed by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting