Environmental Problem of Some Rural Area in Bangladesh

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The growing environmental awareness is increasingly
focusing attention upon the interactions between development actions and their
environmental consequences. Recently, development projects were often formulated and assessed
according to technical, economic and political criteria. The potential
environmental, health and social impacts of projects were rarely considered in
a vigorous manner. As a consequence, many projects have adverse affected on
fish and other aquatic species by blocking their migration routes. Indirectly
irrigation and food protection and control projects have contributed to
conversion of forest, bush and wetland into crop field and destroyed the
habitat of wild species

component such as water, air, soil, noise some time polluted by the development
activity. In rural area it is found that the pollution of water is one of the
main environmental issues. In addition to the inadequate sanitary system is
also another serious environmental issue exits in most of the rural Bangladesh.

Although Bangladesh is popularly
known as a water abundant country, it faces water scarcity in the dry season.
Due to encroachment on wetlands, sanitation of natural water bodies and decline
of flow from the upstream reaches, the overall water availability has
significantly dropped in the recent years (Islam, 1994). People’s access to
safe drinking water still falls critically short of the W.H.O standard (Islam,

The link between water and rural life
is intricate. The annual cycle of water availability and its seasonal variation
has important bearings on rural life. The distribution of water over the
hydrologic year is highly uneven. In the monsoon all the areas have water
surplus and in the dry season, water shortage become pervasive (Islam, 1994).
The major water issues in most of the rural Bangladesh include flood, drought,
salinity, iron, arsenic, water logging, and storm surge.

The number of people competing for the natural resources is
one key factor for determining the fresh water availability. The population of
Bangladesh is growing at the rate of 1.7 percent per year. More than half of
the population is under 20 years of age. Even if a two child family normally is
achieved today, the country population is to reach over 230 million by the year
2030 (Islam, 2003, 2004). Thus access of good quality water will become a
critical issue all over the Bangladesh and the pollution of environment will
increase unless the natural resources are managed properly.

1.2 Study objectives of
the study

The broad objectives of this study are to develop
understanding of the environmental problems in rural Bangladesh. The specific
objectives of the study are as follows:

• To identify and
asses the environmental problems in the study areas of Kurigram and Jamalpur

• To identify
agricultural and hydrological features of the study areas.

• To assess the socio-economic profile of the study areas.

• To make some recommendations to
mitigate the environmental problems in rural Bangladesh. 

1.3 Justification of
the study

Finding of these problems will be helpful for rural
development planning, with emphasis on safe, good quality supply of water for
household and agricultural process.

The study will identify crucial socio economic and gender
specific factors that may play critical role in determining the success or
failure of any rural development schemes.

Some of the study areas are affected by arsenic
contamination. Various alternatives of water source and purification are
currently being introduced and examine the efficiency of this option.

The study would give the opportunity to make some useful
recommendations to mitigate the environmental problems in rural Bangladesh.
Through a little study have been made in this regard, but the literature reads
that more studies are required to solve the environmental problems in rural

This study will explore the cultural and environmental
aspects of environmental management and environmental resources use. Such
information will helpful for both macro and micro level of planning and
management of environmental resources.

1.4 Scope of the study

About half a century ago the people of the rural Bangladesh
were very much dependent on small canals as their main source of water for uses
in the rice field but most of the small canals have been dried out for
development activity. After the monsoon are casing a lot of hardship to the
villagers. Water for drinking and household purpose was collected from far away
places or source of water where good quality of water can be found. As the
local government department and DPHE give them some hand tube well greatly
relieved the hardship of the villagers.

The situation of sanitation remains disappointing as before.
Despite efforts of NGO’s and Govt. most household in rural Bangladesh still use
open toilets or no toilets at all. The most prevalent type diseases that the
people suffer in Bangladesh include diarrhea, dysentery, jaundice and skin
diseases. All of which are water born diseases and due to the not adequate
sanitation system. This is polluting the environment. Safe drinking water and
sanitary system are the indicators of the human development.

Poor water management can lead to
death of local wild species in a subtle way, during floods many of the
remaining wild species are forced to come out from their hidings, these animals
either get killed or captured or washed away by flood water. Flood protection
and availability of irrigation water have allowed people to increases both
command area and the cropping intensity of previously cropped lands. As a
result, wood and bushes have all but vanished from the rural landscape leading
to loss of habitat for wild species. As Bangladesh is an agro based country,
for high production in crop field, farmers use chemicals, both fertilizers and
pesticides. Through surface run off and seepage, these chemicals eventually end
up in natural water bodies and polluting environment.



2.1 Introduction

The study has been carried out based
on both primary and secondary data and information. Several field visits were
made to collect primary hydrological, social, agricultural, economic, ecological
and environmental data and information. In addition, different or gradually
like Department of Environment (DOE), Institute of Water Modeling (IWM), Bangladesh
Water Development Board (BWDB), Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation
(BADC), local union parishad’s chairmen, members were contracted for authentic data
and information.

2.2 Selection of the
study areas

The study areas have been selected from two regions of the
country, one in north Bengal in kurigram district and another is in the Dhaka
division in Jamalpur district which shown in Figure 2.1. These areas represent
different hydrological regions and agricultural zones. The study areas have
different types of environmental issues, such as water related problems, like
flood, drought, high iron concentration, etc. Each study areas consists one or
more villages that were selected through field visit.

These locations use irrigation water for growing rice and
vegetables on commercial basis. They use both surface and ground water for
irrigation purpose. In kurigram district, Dhasherhat village has some problems
with the water use in the paddy field; the quality of the water is very much
poor compare to the other region of the country. Two locations uses limited irrigation
and it mainly grows Boro rice and some vegetables.

In the study areas estimates have been obtained on water use
in households especially water uses for drinking and particularly water use for
cooking. In addition people use water for washing, bathing, defecation and
other purpose. The actual amount of water uses is some what very difficult to
estimate. Villagers do not have running water and collection of water sometime
demands physically and time consuming activity. Thus most households fetch
mainly water for drinking and cooking from hand tube wells. The rest of the
water needs are met by nearby ponds or other sources.

Agricultural activities such as cropping, fisheries and
horticultures depend heavily on the supply of adequate, good quality water.
Thus it is expected that there will be a close linkage between water
availability and the socio-economic profile of a community. This linkage is

It can also determine the level of access to water or lack of
it to various members of the community. The community can take actions to alter
the temporal and spatial
distribution of water to suit
its needs. Given such codependences this study examines the socio-economic
profiles of the study areas.

In a relatively short period of time a good overview of the
present situation can be provided. The answers given by the persons interviewed
however may not always be in accordance with what happens in reality. Some
times the persons interviewed try to give “the correct answer
or the answer they think the persons interviewing would like to hear. This is
particularly true if the questions relate to behavior.

2.3 Questionnaire
survey and data collection

Different types of interviews have
been carried out. A community interview is conducted to involve all of the
residents of a village to pin point their problems in their villages. Such an
interview provides a lot of information in relatively short period of time.
However, some community members may hesitate to speak up in a big group. So
Focus Group Discussions (FGD) was the family members. (FGD) conducted with a
group of randomly encountered persons and with systematic selected groups on
the basis of gender, age, wealth, etc. Group interview sometime less time
consuming but they are less suitable for discussing sensible issues. Key
information interviews are conducted with persons who represent the community
of the village. Individual interviews carried out through the villagers. There
is a good rapport between the interviewer and the respondent. I have to prepare
the questionnaire in Bangla to make it understandable to the villagers.

It is important to carefully select
the time and place of the interviews. During the interview only the group
persons or the person being interviewed and the interviews were present. This
is to avoid that others disturb the interviewed or influence the answers given.
To ensure a good gender differentiation it is important to possibly avoid
interviewing women in the presence of their husbands or family members. Before
the interview starts, the interviewer introduced him properly. Explaining why
the interview is being conducted, ask for permission to record the results and
ask for any queries and thank the group or individual for their participation.
(Sample questionnaire is given in Annexure B)

2.4 General observations
during field survey

A community walk is an observation tool that is used by
external reviewer and as well as in a participatory way together with community
members. By walking as in a participatory way together with community members
an indication of the situation is
obtained and registered. The walk may include brief house visit, with in
for discussions about water supply or sanitation while appreciating for in
house situation. One person or several persons involved at the same time with
small group. Large group is avoided since disrupt the normal situation too
much. The walk is planned during the time of the day when most water
and activity take place.

In combination with interview and
observation give a powerful tool, it supplements and also helps the cross
checks information obtained in interviews. When done in a participatory way it
difference between rich and poor are considerate. Recording of the observations
is done according to the plan.

Important issues that included in a
community walk is the type and state of settlements, general environment
conditions, drainage of water, water availability, general hygiene behavior of
men and women, water source, water points, state and functioning of development
activity and their consequence to the environment and water.

2.5 Mapping

The purpose of mapping is to gather
information about a community by having its members create their own village
map. It is also used to collect information about exiting problems and perceive
the value which community members give to certain situations. It is proposed to
community members to draw a map either on a sheet in a board or even the soil.
In this map they are asked to highlight the following points. main location of
settlement and distribution of population including main topography
identification of schools, shops, markets, masque, localization of water
points, zones of infections or problems, water source, distribution system of
water in irrigation, garbage disposal zones, persons using the facilities
specification of which water points have continuous or seasonal variations,
type of water, functioning, where is the population with the lowest willingness
to pay and identification of the economic activities of men and women.

The village map, in combination with
a ranking tool such as the pocket chart the most important problems and needs
related to water supply and sanitation is identified.

2.6 Pocket chart

A pocket chart is kept, is an
effective method to collect information about people’s perceptions, habits,
desirers and will. It provides quantitative information by a system of votes.
The result is used to discussions with the community members. The pocket charts
is used to identify different sources of water. Drawings are prepared
beforehand preferably by a local artist. An alternative is to ask the
participants to make drawings. The tool is used in combination with mapping,
the drawing, instance, represents the problems related to water supply and
sanitation and other environmental problems.

2.7 Socio-Economic

The social and economic structure of
the rural communities has a major bearing on how the environmental resources
will be demanded and used for various purposes. The study areas are located in
agriculture-based communities.

In each survey areas questionnaire
survey was carried out to gather important socio-economic, environmental, water
uses and culture information. A combination of stratified and random sampling
was used to select the households to be surveyed. The number of households from
each village was selected proportion to the populations of those villages.
Within each village stratified sampling was used to determine the number of households
with various occupations. Finally, for each of the occupation groups, randomly
sampling was used. One hundred households were surveyed from each study areas.

Availability of water determines the
nature and extent of primary economic activity and the existing socio-economic
fabric creates the basic demands for water.

Families are very much the unit of
rural communities of Bangladesh. Elderly parents stay with the son or daughter.
Decisions in a family are usually made jointly. The status of women in the
study areas is also considered. The women status in the society of the study
areas is poorer compared to the male population both in terms of education and
income. All of the study areas randomly selected for the study had typical
developing country village like characteristics, very low income, high
illiteracy rate, small Sand ownership. The population age distribution was very

of water sources

All water sources, namely river,
pond, ground water and rain water for household, agricultural and other purpose
were identified during the field visit and questionnaire survey. Some unique
cultural water collection, treatment, and storage practice has been identified.

There are off stream and in stream
use of water in rural areas. The former consists of water use for crops,
homestead gardens and households. The latter use for fisheries, bathing, washes
in the rivers and ponds.

2.9 Cultural practice
and gender issue

Water is very much gender issues in
rural Bangladesh. Water for house hold purpose is collected and stored and used
almost entirely by women and children. The health of the entire family depends
on how efficiently they carry out this important task. Women in the villages
undergo several physical hardships while collecting water from distant places
under unfavorable weather conditions. Moreover, there is an opportunity cost of
time more time spent for water collection means less time use or available for
other household and income generating activities.

2.10 Rural environment
and water source

Water and environment are closely
linked. Lack of water can adversely affect the functioning of an ecosystem.
Water management structure and development structure may block movement of
water and other aquatic species.

The natural environment of the rural
areas is being altered by human activity and the most severe impact is felt in
the form of loss of natural habitats – both land and water based. Biodiversity
in all areas has decreased significantly in the last 40 years in Bangladesh.
There is an urgent need to inform local people about the value of wild species
in nature and how we depend on them through food web and food chain based



3.1 Introduction

The study area has been selected in
agro-ecological zones so that a wide range of environmental issues and features
could be captured during the course of the study. This purpose the area has been
largely successful in some unique featured that are worth having a closer look.

3.2 Jamalpur

The site in Jamalpur is a part of
cultural feature that has important environmental implications. The village is
situated in the estuarine flood plains of the Jamuna River. This site is also
protected by a polder, which was constructed under a land reclamation project
funded by the Bangladesh government. Some of the families inside this polder
came from other areas of the country after losing homestead and agricultural
lands due to river bank erosion. However shortage of fresh water is a major
problem in this area, good quality tube wells are few in number and women often
walk to collect drinking water. Besides the area had rich terrestrial as well
as aquatic biodiversity according to the local elderly. With gradual
elimination of natural habitats, most of the wild species are no more found
inside this polder. Villagers mentioned that construction of the polder
obstructed of terrestrial as well as aquatic species and adversely affected
their life cycle.

The area received enough water during
the monsoon both in terms of river flow and rainfall. But the post monsoon
months are dry and there is no culture of irrigation due to lack of water
availability. Groundwater is used for irrigation purposes. The site is located
to very close to the fertilizer factory. The site is located in the flood
plains of the Jamuna River. Much of the village and surrounding crop fields are
flooded every year. Thus frequent high flood is a problem here according to the
local people during the devastating floods of 1988 and 1998 and also 1996, many
species of wild lives such as snake, fox, crocodile, frog, tortoise, etc were
killed to extinction as these species tried to take refuse in high lands. The
people are more interested in commercial agriculture ands fishers and are not
reluctant to catch or kill wildlife for personal benefit. 

Occupied by flood affected people
most of the natural trees covers and bushes in this village have been cleared
up long ago for agricultural purposes leaving little space for wild species.
Natural vegetation in this area is not rich. Exotic species of plants such as
mango, jack fruit, etc. grows plenty in their season. Due to lack of water in
the dry season, irrigation is very limited and the main crop is rain-fed rise
which is grown in the surrounding low lying areas, in some areas, have been
cleared for growing lemon and pineapple variety of tree species such as garjan,
koroi, gammar and rata are found in the village. Some types of bamboo are also
found in this area. Forest department has planted some trees in this area, although
mostly exotic species are planted. Poverty and poor management practices are
gradually destroying the remaining trees.

The village has some large trees.
During the field visits, migratory winter birds were observed grazing in the
paddy fields. Some rare species of birds was seen also that time. The main
problem of the area is shortage of drinking water through out the year erosion
in the homestead areas due to the wave action caused by strong winds and
current in the river and current of monsoon. The area is still home to several
species of rare birds that have become endangered globally and under risks.

Wild life biodiversity is positively
associated with plants biodiversity. This is because trees provide the habitats
for wild lives. However, as seen in the areas seem to have poor and very poor
plant diversity as well as good wild life diversity. This is mainly due
relative abundance of amphibians and birds.

The wild life found in the area is
wild cats, mongooses, rat snakes, water snakes, cobras, civets, foxes, hares,
fishing cats, dhora shaps(snakes), maita shaps(snakes ), shials(Bengali foxes).
There are lots of plants found in the area, such as mango trees, banana trees,
bamboo trees, bots, bets, bablas, borojs, aamras, arjuns, kadams, jamms,
dalims, kamrangas, litchus, kat badams, korochs, naricals, sajanas, khajurs,
eucalyptus, rain trees, suparis, tals, tetuis, chaltas.

3.3 Kurigram

In kurigram district the environment
found in high land. The village is located in a high land with high producing
crop fields. A small swap area is situated in the village. The aquatic life and
biodiversity is unique in the local region. Much of the village is surrounded
by the crop field. The village is a sub urban area. The most of the house is
built of GI sheet or cement. The income of the people is highest among the
surveyed areas.

Most of the natural tree covers and
bushes in this village have been cleared long ago for agricultural or house
stead. As a result, wild species are leaving this little space for wild species.
The wild life found in the area is wild cats, mongooses, rat snakes, water
snakes, cobras, civets, foxes, hares, fishing cats, dhora shaps(snakes), maita
shaps(snakes), shials(Bengali foxes).The area is still home to several species
of rare birds that have become endangered globally.

The village has some large trees.
During the field visits, migratory winter birds were observed grazing in the
paddy field. However, as seen in the area seem to have poor and very poor plant
diversity as well as good wild life diversity. The most common fruit trees
found in the villages include coconut, mango, jackfruit, banana, and guava.

In short, the natural environment of
the study areas in being altered by human activity and the most severe impact
is felt in the form of loss of natural habitats – both land and water based.
Biodiversity in all areas has decreased significantly in the last 40 years in
Bangladesh. There is an urgent need to inform local people about the value of
wild species in nature and how we depend on them through food web and food
chain based links.



4.1 Introduction

The social and economic structure of
the rural communities has a major hearing on how the environmental resources
will be demanded and used for various purposes. The study area is located in
agriculture-based communities.

Agricultural activities such as
cropping, fisheries and horticultures depend heavily on the supply of adequate,
good quality water. Thus it is expected that there will be a close linkage
between water availability and the socio-economic profile of a community. This
linkage is bi-directional.

Availability of water determines the
nature and extent of primary economic activity and the existing socio-economic
fabric creates the basic demands for water.

It can also determine the level of
access to water or lack of it to various members of the community. The
community can take actions to alter the temporal and spatial distribution of
water to suit its needs. Given such codependences this chapter examines the
socio-economic profiles of the study area.

4.2 The respondents

Almost equal numbers of respondents,
one hundred from each survey section, have been interviewed. The highest numbers
of respondents are from section six (6) and the least numbers of respondents is
from section seven (7). The survey aimed at question in the heads and male and
female of the households. Among the total respondents identified as head of the
family is were 66% and male and female were respectively 17% and 17%as shown in
Table 4.1 and Figure 4.1. In some cases, when the male head of the household
was absent, his wife took the interview, therefore, it cannot be said that
about 17% of the rural households surveyed were headed by females. However the
study does not overlook the gender specific issues.

The respondents of the highest
average age of 48 years old. About one-third of the respondents did not have
any formal education. The rest had primary or higher education. Thus most of
the respondents could assess the significance of the questions asked to them.

Table 4.1: Composition of the
respondents by gender























































(Head of the family
is taken 100% male)

Figure 4.1: Percentage of respondents by gender

4.3 Residence and

The majority of the respondents are
local residents of the concerned survey area. In response to the query of why
they or their ancestors had migrated to a locality, most people could not
mention any specific reason. About 18% people said that they come here because
they lost their home and crop lands due to river bank erosion. In addition to
river erosion, land related problems faced by the respondents were a reason for
migration to the current location of residence. Other reason for migration
include acquiring new land, overcoming poverty, new income opportunity and
settling in a less populated area than the earlier. Most of the respondents
(98%) are residing here for more than 25 years, about 1% have been living here
for less than 10 years, about 1% are new have been living here for less than 5
years. Resident and migration level are shown in Table 4.2.

Table 4.2: Level of Migration and residents


Section 1

Section 2

Section 3

Section 4

Section 5

Section 6

Section 7





























4.4 Family

The average family size has been
determined to be 5.4. Among the surveyed location, the highest family size of
13 and the lowest family size of 3.In terms of male-female distribution of the
family members, the male to female ratio for most of the village is one. Overall
trend is consistent with the national statistics—male female ratio close to one
and number of males slightly higher than the number of female. The average age
of the family members is 25 years. This means that the survey areas consist of
young and working age population and this has important policy implications.

4.5 Education

The literacy rate has been calculated
by dividing the number of people above the age of 10 with compared the national
literacy rate of 54%, as shown in Table 4.1 and Figure 4.2. Most of the areas
have a higher literacy rate.

Table 4.3: Literacy rate due to seven
selected areas

SI. No.







West Pingna

















1. Bagashara

2. WestPingna

3. Tarakandi

4. Dasherhat

5. Fuldaherpara

6. Mia

7. Mathabhanga

The secondary education is the
highest in MathaBhanga region. Around 45%of the respondents have attended
secondary school. The numbers of bachelor and masters degree holders are the
highest in Tarakandi and Kurigram. In addition the most of the people in
Jamalpnr district have studied or go to Madrasa.

A comparison of female and male
education levels that there has been feminization is the primary education
level, there are more female respondents that are primary educated than men. It
is likely that this feminization is the result of Government’s decade long high
emphasis on brining gender parity in the primary education.

About 5% male respondents have
education at Diploma/ Bachelor / Masters Level. While none of the female
respondent attained education at this level. Most of the women interviewed went
to traditional primary and secondary schools or Madrasa.

Women are discriminated when it comes
to higher education. It is a widely held view in the male dominated rural
community that a girl child does not need any formal education since she will
get married early and will perform house hold chores that do not require higher
education. The survey suggests that average marriage age for women varies from
15 to 17 in the study areas. In the study areas it is found that below 15 years
old girls are some times been get married.

4.6 Women views on
education and marriage

The main reason that women are
socially and economically subjugated is their lack of education and financial
dependence on the male head of the family. Linked to this is the age of
marriage early marriage means less of getting higher education and employment.
Thus the female respondents were asked two key questions:

you think is the right level of education for girls?

At what a tie a girl should get married?

In response to the first question,
most respondents said that girls should be educated up to SSC level. Majority
of the response perceive Madrasa 6 level or less than that. A positive relation
between a respondent’s education level and her perception about appropriate
level of education is obvious. An educated respondent wants her daughters to
receive equal of higher level of education.

Some other type of education, which
would perhaps give them vocational training on agro-forestry or small business
and the education will be specially designed for the community highlighting
their unique needs and faith. Even through the main stream identified basic Madrasa
 level education as sufficient for their
girls that again reflects the conservative nature of these villages.

A main obstacle to women’s education
is their early marriage. As discussed earlier, the average marriage age varies
14 years to 17 years. However the female respondents think that the minimum
marriage age should be 15 to 18 years.

Although majority of the response are
married. Majority of the respondents to this gender specific questionnaire are
wives of the head of the house holds. Almost 70% of the respondents were
between 20 to 50 years old. Women whose main responsibility is to housekeeping
but they also participate in other income generating activities.

4.7 Housing

The houses surveyed in Jamalpur have
floors made of mud’s. Although the rest of the areas respondents have floor
made of cement. Majority of the responds use walls made of bamboo while a
sizable group has walls made of bamboo and is commonly used for making the roof
except MathaBanga village, where straw and bamboo are common use.

In general materials used for housing
are mostly local and used universally all over the country. Economically well
off families tend to use GI sheets. And may have brick walled houses but the
number of such house holds is very limited. In some cases, materials used may
not be an indication of economic conditions. In kurigram has the highest
average income and yet most of the houses here are made of Gl sheets. Similarly
in Tarakandi most of the lowest income and yet most of the houses are made of
Gl sheets. Although the people has the highest literacy rate. This is a
reflection of an age old cultural practice. The housing materials used may also
reflect influence of the surrounding areas, Daherhat in kurigram is a semi
urban areas and this may influenced local residence to use for GI sheets and
brick as building materials. The housing materials in seven selected village of
Jamalpur and Kurigram district are shown in Table 4.2.

4.8 NGO membership

The presence of NGOs is most visible
in Jamalpur district. In this district 75% of the respondents are members of
NGOs and in kurigram district Dhasherhat around 50% of the respondents are NGOs
members. And in Jamalpur Tarakandi areas is less than 40% is NGOs members. The
NGOs members get benefit in terms of advice, education, also advice on
riverbank erosion and ways to crops with it.

In other areas the main benefits are
schemes for savings and loan. Among other benefits of a NGO membership include
legal help, advice, small loan, training and awareness.

It is evident that NGOs activities
are still limited in rural areas. Moreover NGOs mostly work on health and
credit related issues. So all NGO are not involved in water management
treatment in a major way. Only in one NGO was conducting a pilot project on
various local methods of removing and filtering training for safe drinking
water and rain water harvesting.

Table 4.2: Percentage
of housing materials used in seven selected areas


of the village

of House




GI sheet






















West Pingna



















































































Whatever little amount of women manages
to save from their income may have been inspire by the awareness and advocacy
campaign organized by NGOs. In some of the villages, NGOs have been very
active, is the best example of BRAC, ASSA, and GRAMINE have their local
officers and are engaged in various education, healthcare, water supply and
sanitation related activity.

NGOs seem to address gender specific
issues and try to help out women through loan and savings programs and training
in small scale home business.

NGOs also run awareness programs for
the whole community on various socio-economic and environmental issues.

Some of the destitute women are being
helped by NGOs through their micro credit schemes. Under such programs, women
take small amount of loans which they invest in poultry, livestock or some from
of cottage industry, making good and safe sanitation system, building their
houses, making money by setting small industry such as making brown sugar,
puffed rice, bamboo and cane artifacts and pottery item.

4.9 Ownership

Ownership can be looked at from
various perspectives lands, trees, livestock, ponds, tube wells, crop fields,
and so forth, the information on ownerships helps identify the economic status
of the respondents and their vulnerability to became poor.

a. Land and pond

Ownership of land is an important
indicator of economic well being of a family. For example, when a house hold
has less than 4 decimal of land it is classified as “landless”. The
population owning land in the study areas are better off in this sense most of them own more than 4 decimal
of land, there are two types of land cropland and homestead land, which include
the house and surrounding areas often used for homestead gardening. A few
respondents have fallow land that is not used for any purpose.

In terms of land ownership, 93% of
the people own some household land. About only 12% of people do not have their
own land as crop field. About 87% people have 162 acres of crop field. The rest
either lease land or just work as agricultural labors. As far as distribution
of hind is concerned, it can be said that
land ownership pattern is in- equitable in 4 out of 10 these villages.

In addition to owning land, house holds
may own ponds that are used for house hold purposes and for growing fish. Fish
culture can be an important source of income for the owners. One of the
respondents said he owned 6 ponds from which he earned more than 2, 50,000 Tk.
Per year, this indicate culture fisheries can be an important economic activity
in some of the study areas.

The size and depth of the ponds
varied widely. Most households owned one pond, but there were households that
owned 2, 3 or even 5 ponds. Some ponds are found in the inside of the house,
which is mainly used by the females for the household use, washing, bathing

Other ponds could be located
elsewhere and some level of fish culture is now becoming common place, as
culture fisheries are an important income generating activity inside this area.

b. Trees

Trees are valuable assets for rural
house holds. The most common fruit trees found in the villages include coconut,
mango, jackfruit, banana, guava. There are other species too such as litchi,
pineapple, lemon, safeda, and different types of berries. People also planted
some fruit trees which has some wood value. In the areas it is found that
people also planted Teak and Mahogony along with fruit trees for their wood
value. Which were planted as long term investment by the owner.

c. livestock

Chicken, duck, cow are the most
common livestock poultry animal owned by the respondents. On average, each
family owns of 5 or 4 of these animal. They earn about 50000 to 70000 per year
from the chicken firming, this shows the poultry can be viable and lucrative
income generating source for the rural poor people.

Life stocks owned by households
provide multiple benefits. Milk, meat and hide in addition labor in the crop
field. Often bullocks and buffalos are used for pulling carts. Horse also used
for pulling carts. Although Muslims do not own pigs but in some villagers,
Hindus do own pig and eat pork.

4.10 Income

As expected, the majority of the
respondents were farmers. Either they cropped their own lands or they leased
lands from land owners. Some worked as farm labors and switch to other non farm
occupations in the off season. The per capita income of the respondents is
significantly less than the national per capita income of US$ 250 per year.

There is an exception in the Dasher
hat area, the primary source of income in this areas is non agricultural,
occupation such as small business, service, and house made cloths. The low
level income in all the areas compare to the national average indicate the
general impoverished conditions of the study areas a lot of development work
will needed to improve the rural living condition and the economic conditions
of these villagers.

4.11 Dependency

The dependency ratio for the study areas
are shown in Figure 4.3

1. Bagashara

2. WestPingna

3. Tarakandi

4. Dasher hat

5. Fuldaherpara

6. Mia

7. Mathabhanga

Figure 4.3: Dependency ratio at seven
study areas

This ratio has been defined as the ratio of the percentage of
people under the age of 15 and above the age of 60 to percent of people aged
between 16 and 60.

The ratio is very high in kurigram and Tarakandi, and the
lowest in Bagashara. There is a close correlation between the dependency ratio
and education. Bagashara have the lowest literacy rates along with the highest
dependency ratios. On the kurigram has one of the highest literacy rates and
his corresponds with the lowest dependency ratio. The ratio may be negatively
correlated with income. The national Bangladesh dependency ratio is 76%.



5.1 Introduction

Water usage can be broadly categorized into household and
irrigation water use. Apart from these, there is in-stream use of water and
fisheries and navigation. Among these, water requirement for irrigating
different types of crops is relatively well known from previous agronomic
studied carried out by the various organizations. But not much information is
exists on domestic water use pattern.

5.2 House hold water

Fairly consistent estimates have been obtained on water use
in households -particularly water use for drinking and cooking. Water use for
drinking varied between 4.5 to 6 liter per person per day. Water use for
cooking varied between 8 to 10 liter per family. The average water use for
drinking is 4.6 liter per person per day. The average water use for cooking 5.6
liter per person per day, thus total consumption of the water use per person
per day is about 10 liter per person per day.

Assuming a house hold of size of six persons, the daily need
of water for people for other use, consumption comes to 60 liters per day per
person per household. This calculation is on the basis of the respondents
answer. This is not including their water use for bathing, washing and other

The total amount of water is somewhat difficult to estimate
as most people in the study areas use pond and rivers water for bathing and
washing. For which sample households could not provide accurate data. It is
noticeable that consumption of pithier water in rural communities is much less
than the same of the semi urban communities. This is due a number of reasons
that in semi urban people use a lot of water for bathing and washing and toilet
flushing. Which makes up about 50% of the collection of water in the studied
areas. On the other hand, in the village collection of water is a physically
demanding and time consuming activity; most of the house hold fetches mainly
water for drinking and cooking from hand tube wells. The rest of the water
needs are met by ponds and wells and some time steams.

In addition, people collect another 50 to 60 liter for
defecation and other purpose making the house hold use 150 lpcd per day.

5.3 Water for crops and vegetable

In Bangladesh about 85% of all consumptive water is claimed
by the agricultural sector. This water is used for irrigating crops that
include boro rice and variety of crops. Aus crop is also some time irrigated as
required. During field visits and questionnaire survey, peoples who practiced
irrigation were asked to provide information on the amount for various used of
water in the irrigation for various crops. In general, they could only provide
information on irrigation frequency and said that they applied water “as
required”. Thus no quantitative estimate on the amount of irrigation water
applied per cultivated land could be generated.

Farmers in the study areas could not provide a reliable
estimate of the total cost of irrigation and water uses cost. This is due to
different requirements in different locations as well as due to use of
different combination of surface water and ground water. Therefore, the numbers
are indicative of the order of magnitude and should be interpreted accordingly.
Another way of looking at irrigation water cost is to examine the fuel used for
pump; it varies 1000 to 5000 Tk. Per acr. Irrigation cost for winter vegetable
could not be estimated according to limited data. But according to respondents
vegetables require more water compared to rice.

for fisheries

Fisheries can be of open water or close water type. One of
the study areas is Bagashora village, situated in haor basin and this one is
almost exclusively a fishermen community. Here the main house hold income comes
from aquaculture. Since most of the area becomes inundated in the monsoon,
there are very natural streams, and the people use ponds for washing and
bathing and also for household uses.

The opposite of this location is MathaBanga village, where
91% of the house holds have ponds and these are used for culture fisheries even
though only 5% of the household’s main occupation is fisheries. Many people
from the Boropara village come here and lease the ponds for fisheries. In this
way the villagers of the MathaBanga earns extra money from leasing the ponds
for fisheries this indicates that farmer senile holders businessman and there
who have ponds can under take commercial fish culture in their ponds as a near
of secondary income.

On average 49.8% household in the study areas have ponds,
areas the average pond’s size is about 175 sq. m. the ponds in Bagashora is
very big and the average is 900 sq. m.

Large and medium rivers still remains as important for
fishing in the local residents. The great Jamuna River flows in left side of
the village section 5, the people go in the river for fishing there. !n kurigram
district t do not have any major river near by and number of canals and ponds
are here for fisheries. Some businessmen started fisheries there in their own,
for commercial benefit. Some hatcheries also started business there. They are
providing lots of breeding ground of fish and also providing fish protein for
the local and outsiders. As a result it found that fish consuming increases
last ten years in that area.

Limited aquaculture is practice all over the study areas,
house holds may own ponds that are used for house hold purposes and for growing
fish. Fish culture can be an important source of income for the owners. One of
the respondents said he owned 6 ponds from which he earned more than 2, 50,000
Tk. Per year. This indicates culture fisheries can be an important economic
activity in some of the study areas. The size and depth of the ponds varied
widely. Most households owned one pond, but there were households that owned 2,
3 or even 5 ponds. Some ponds are found in the inside of the house, they are
also use for fisheries.

5.5 Sources of
irrigation water

Irrigation claims the largest share consumptive water use in
Bangladesh. Whenever possible, now people grow winter crops that include rice,
wheat, vegetables, and spices. One input that is common to all these crops is

In the monsoon most of the study areas here goes under water,
thus aman is not grown except in few high land. On the other hand boro and aus
are grown with shallow and deep tube well based irrigation. There are many
irrigation canal dug by local people to carry the pumped water in the crop
field. These canals in the areas supply irrigation water in the crop field.

Irrigation is used for winter and pre-monsoon crops. Due to
iron problems, the soil color has become reddish. As it is a predominantly
agricultural community, about 85% of the households rely on cultivation as
their main source of income. Here, deep
tube well becomes the sole source of irrigation water.

In the site of Dasherhat is the central north part of
Bangladesh. Here, people do not practice irrigation and grow mostly rain fed
aman. People mentioned lack of water or irrigation facilities as the main cause
for not growing varieties of winter vegetables. People here produce lots of
potatoes in winter seasons. This is grown mainly for commercial purpose. There
are lots of cold storage here to collect this potatoes and preserve and for
marketing. In Jamalpur people also produce lots of potatoes and many other
winter vegetables. This is grown mainly for household consumption.

Dug canals is an important source of good quality irrigation
water, although canals found in all over the study areas but they are not joint
to the Jamuna river, people mentioned it is the only way to bring the Jamuna’s
water in their field but govt. did not take action to do so. These study areas
have iron problems, iron water is not suitable for irrigation purpose, and deep
tube wells are use for irrigation agricultural field during dry season. People
in these areas do not have the awareness of the high iron concentration.

5.6 Flood, drought and
other problems

A diversity of water related issued have been identified in
the study areas that include most of the common water related problems in
Bangladesh. These issues are local or regional in scale and people’s responses
these problems very widely. Some of the problems affect some communities in a
significant way and some other problems affect number of households or those recur
less frequently. Since the study areas are dispersed a unique area of the
country and located in the same agro-ecological zones, the nature of problems
do not varies widely. In general flood seems to be a very big problems, many
says it is the major problems. Other areas suffer from regular flooding, goes
under water nearly every year. This people do not suffer from flash flood as it
is not a hilly area. I have to collect some flood and drought related
Figure.  (Figures are given annexure A).

People have complained about drainage congestion in areas
where there are embankment and other flow control structures. Often these are
of inadequate design and are not operated properly leading to drainage
congestion and related inconveniences. Water logging takes up agricultural land
cause communication problems and breed water borne diseases.

Some of the areas within the projects of BWDB and LGED. The
villages in section 2 Mathabhanga are in the river protection embankment. This
is a river erosion control embankment which is seemed to have generated
noticeable benefit. People have mentioned that this embankment has helped save
there house and crop fields from erosion and flood.

Other sites do not fall inside any exiting projects. In most
places people try to save them personnel belongings from flood when it comes
out but not much community initiative was observed. People expect government
and NGOs to come forward with help when needed. In the river bank region people
convinced about benefit of the bank protection project, there is community
effort to maintain and protect the embankment.



6.1 Introduction

The infrastructural development in Bangladesh is closely
related to considerable number of parameters or components of the environment
which may be grouped under three mutually interacting major components. They
are ecological, physical-chemical and human interest. The ecological components
include fisheries, plantation— weeds, forest, wildlife, species diversity and
endangered species under aquatic and terrestrial sub groups. The
physical-chemical effects are diverse and extended over a human interest’s
closely related to infrastructural development include various parameters under
health situation, socio economic and aesthetic conditions. The physical
features in rural and semi urban environment consisting of homestead, roads,
canal, farmlands, wetlands, water bodies etc. A change in the system exerts
certain influence on many parameters, resulting a net positive or negative
impact on the environment.

The understanding of the development actions and their
interactions with components of the environments is needed to conduct
environmental assessment of infrastructural development projects and to plan
mitigating measures to prevent or minimize environmental degradation.

6.2 Impacts of Upazila
Road Projects (URP)

It is observed in the field that upazila road projects which
are going on or which already exist have some effect on the environmental
components. The magnitude of the impact some time positive and some time
negative. And the impacts are:

6.2.1 Ecological
impacts of Upazila Road Projects (URP)

The construction of roads has important consequences on flood
plain ecology. Roads prevent longitudinal and lateral migration of fishes in
the flood plan and obstruct the movement of fishes into natural feeding and
breeding grounds in the flood plains. The magnitude of the impact measured by
the length of the road passing through flood plains and the length serves the
purpose of an embankment separating permanent water bodies from fish spawning
and feeding areas in flood plains.

The road projects have some positive impact on fishery, it
permanents water bodies formed in borrow pits which stock fishes when flooded
and maintain a flood plain fish ecology.


The roads running through forest areas and plantations cause
of destruction of trees in the plantation areas and altered the ecology of the
areas. The roadsides may be used for plantation of trees which is a favorable
impact of road construction. The roadside plantations are being encouraged in
the areas under social forestry programs.

C.Wetland and wetland

The roads encroach wetlands which altering the ecology of wetlands
and swamplands and causing destruction of wetland habitats.

D.Nuisance plants

the borrow pits nobody’s land often harbor nuisance plants
like water hyacinth which invade the croplands cause considerable crop damage
during flood.

6.2.2 Physio – chemical
impacts Upazila Road Projects (URP)

a. Erosion and siltation

The constriction of waterways by road and road structures
increases velocity of flow to cause erosion during floods and subsequent
siltation in the down stream. Improper drainage causes erosion of road surface
and side slope during rainy season exerting adverse impact on adjacent lands.

b. Drainage congestion
and water logging

The roads interfere with drainage causing flooding or
drainage congestion in adjacent areas during the period of high precipitation.
This causes crop damages, water pollution and some times permanent loss of
agriculture lands. The congested water also provides breeding ground for

c. Flooding

The roads constructed across floodplains perpendicular to the
direction of water flow that cause back water effect and also increase
duration, frequency and extent of flooding in the upstream. Many local
respondents said this is the main reason why the flooding time increased during
1988 flood.

d. Obstruction of waste water flow

The roads obstruct the drainage of waste water causing
serious pollution problems. Air pollution, water pollution and noise pollution
are not associated with highways.

6.2.3 Human interest on
Upazila Road Projects (URP)

a. Loss of agricultural lands

By increasing the producing of the remaining land, that’s
impact fall in the agricultural land.

b. Generation of employment opportunity

Construction of roads and road structure generated employment
during project implementation and opportunity for permanent employment during
maintenance phase. The beneficial impact is proportional to the jobs created by
the projects.

b. Commercial and
service facilities

The upazila roads provide benefits of fast communication,
commodity transport facilities and thus improve the life style of the
villagers. Improve access to market centers and increased service and
communication facilities.


Road communication promoted industrial activities in the
surveyed areas which has significant socio- economic impact.

d.Irrigation facilities

Borrow pits by the side of the roads provided facility for
small scale irrigation. By the local government both the sides of the roads have
been planted with Mango trees, jackfruit trees many other fruit trees and also
vegetation is growing up slowly.

6.2.4 Impacts of Upazila Irrigation Schemes (UIS)

It is found that irrigation schemes in the surveyed areas
have positive and negative impacts on the socio- economic and agro- ecological
and also environmental parameters. They are discussed below according to the
local respondents.

6.2.5 Ecological
impacts of Upazila Irrigation Schemes (UIS)

a. Fisheries

Irrigation for the cultivation of high breed crops is
invariably associated with the use of agrochemicals. Residues of pesticides
drained out of irrigated land have devastating impact on fish. The
concentration of chemicals causes reproductive failure and a higher affects on
the fisheries in the surveyed areas.

b.Wild life

Pesticides sprayed in field for crop protection affect the
non targeted groups of beneficial insects, birds, wild animals and also
livestock. A pesticide accumulates in fatty tissues and goes on
bio-magnification in food chain.


Fertilizers used in the fields drain out with irrigation
water and this drainage water reaches open water bodies causing luxuriant
growth of weeds, algae etc. The subsequent destruction of these aquatic plants
causes water pollution and disrupts aquatic environment.


6.2.6 physio- chemical
impact of Upazila Irrigation Schemes (UIS)

a. Surface water pollution

Residues of pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers
reach surface water through drainage and flooding of agricultural lands to
causing surface water pollution.

b.Ground water pollution

Residues of agrochemicals also reach ground water through
infiltration. Pollutants persist in the ground water for a very long time and
travel a long distance without any alteration.

c.Soil characteristics

A major part of the irrigation water applied leaves salts in
the root zone of soil. Hence application of irrigation water with high salt
contents increase soil salinity. High concentration of insecticides and
pesticides destroy soil characteristics. Iron and other constituents of water
including fertilizers are also altering soil texture and permeability of soils.

d.Ground water table

Higher rate of groundwater pumping in
the areas which is surveyed for irrigation lowers the ground water level many
times beyond suction limit and interfered with drinking water supply. According
to the officials it is expected that the present low water table areas will be expanded
rapidly in the coming years as more ground water will be used for irrigation.

e.Water logging

Irrigation with inadequate drainage
lead to water logging in relatively low lying areas and causing water pollution
and loss of agricultural land.

6.2.7 Impact on human
interest on Upazila Irrigation Schemes (UIS)

a. Health and nutrition

The increase in irrigation especially increases food
production that influences the health and nutrition of the people of the areas.


Intensive agricultural activity
generated employment opportunities and share cropping for landless farmers. On
the other hand a reduction in open water fishery turned the fishermen

c. Land ownership

Intensive agriculture inputs which the marginal and poor
farmers with small land holdings cannot provide in time, increases in the price
of land in areas under irrigation scheme also motivate the farmers with small plots
within the scheme to sell their lands.

6.2.8 Impacts of
Upazila Embankment Projects (UEP)

To protect the irrigation and house stead and other
infrastructure embankment projects taken in the surveyed areas. The excavation
of drainage canal projects taken by the Local Govt. Engineering Departments LGED
and some by the local people. The impacts are discussed below according with
the surveyed finding and observations.

6.2.9 Ecological
impacts on Upazila Embankment Projects (UEP)

a. Open water fisheries

Embankment prevents inundation of floodplains which is the
natural breeding, nursery and feeding ground of different species of fishes.
Embankment also prevents lateral migration of fishes during flood. As a result
the flood plain fish productivity is greatly affected.

The excavation of drainage canals provide opportunity for
fish culture and stocking offish for natural spawning in flood plain during
monsoon. The length of canal having sufficient water in any season taken into
account in the assessment of positive impact.

b.Wetland and wetland

Complete drainage of wetland and other water bodies for
agriculture disrupts natural habitat for fish, migratory birds and other
aquatic animals. According to the local some species of fish reptiles and exotic
plants have already been affected by drainage projects. Open water fish
producing has been greatly affected in the areas during the last two decades.

c. Plantation

The embankment is often used by plantation of trees which may
be accounted as positive impact of the project.

6.2.10 physio- chemical
impact of Upazila Embankment Projects (UEP)

a. Flood control and drainage facilities

The objective of the embankment is to protect the surveyed
areas from flooding and in some location to prevent early flooding to avoid
crop damage. Similarly the drainage canals are made to salvage water logged
areas or expand agricultural land with wetlands.

b.Erosion and

The embankment is made of soil and
brick block having no vegetation cover on side slopes may suffer from erosion
problem during heavy rainfall and cause sedimentation and siltation in nearby
surface waters.

c.Water togging

The embankment is made to not only flood water from getting
in they may also prevent water behind the embankment from draining out. The
situation may lead to water logging characterized by environmental degradation
and loss of agricultural land.

D.Early flooding

The drainage canals without proper planning may cause early
flooding which may damage crops and interfere with tradition cultivation

E.Soil fertility

The areas protected from erosion and flood by embankment is
deprived of yearly deposition of a fresh fertile layer of soil. Thus the
embankment may affect soil characteristics and natural fertility of protected

6.2.11 Evaluation of

The magnitude of the impacts cither positive or negative has
to he quantified to conduct EIA. The most common measurements of some
parameters are length, number and area affected or benefited. The evaluation of
some of the parameters related to quality of life is very difficult to meet the
require specialized training and long experience. The scope of this guideline
will make a quantities and qualitative evaluation of various related
environmental parameters based on available information, experience, field
observation. simple survey and measurement correlate them to the magnitude of
the impacts. The following mitigation measures may be helpful

a. Allow control flooding to avoid loss of breeding and
feeding ground in flood plain or compensation of loss by fish culture,

b. Provide adequate opening in roads and embankment for

c. Prevent drainage from agricultural land

d. Avoid complete drying up of wetland

e. Restore alternative habitat for endangered species,

f. Find alternative route to avoid forest or agricultural
land loss through planning exercise.

g. Incorporate destruction of nuisance plants in maintenance

h. Convert the plants in compost for application as a soil

i. Reduce use of pesticides and insecticides through
integrated management system,

j. Select appropriate soil for road construction and compact
the road material properly, provide proper slope k. Avoid road construction
across the flood plain in the direction to flood flow.

i. Stabilize road surface with a suitable stabilizer to avoid
dust blowing.

m. Use surface water is available.

n. Prevent unplanned construction and unauthorized uses of
roads and embankments. The social and economic structure of the rural
communities has a major hearing on how the environmental resources will be
demanded and used for various purposes. The study area is located in
agriculture-based communities.



7.1 Introduction

High incidence of diarrhea diseases
and infant mortality in rural site of developing countries is related to lack
of safe water supply and sanitation and unhygienic behavior. Every year,
respondents say children under five years of age die of diarrhea and every
child suffers an average of two diarrhea attacks a year. Against this back
ground it is obvious that in the overall objectives given for water supply and
sanitation projects stress the contributions to improve health. This makes it
very important to understand how transmission of water borne diseases is taking

7.2 Health and
sanitation problems

Access to safe drinking water and
sanitary toilet are important human development indicators. To minimize
exposure to water borne diseases, one needs to use both safe water and sanitary
toilet. The situation with sanitation has remains disappointing as before. So
far, the main thrust of the government and the NGOs has been to ensure safe drinking water in the rural areas
through providing hand tube wells. The program has been comprehensive and it is
claims more than 90% of the population of Bangladesh has access to save
drinking water. Five out of the seven villages in the study areas seem to
support this claim.

The most prevalent types of diseases
that the people in the study areas suffer from include diarrhea, dysentery,
jaundice and skin diseases, all of which are water borne. This indicates the
despite access to tube well water, people still need to be trained on personal
and family health.

Despite efforts by DPHE and some NGOs most households
in rural Bangladesh still open toilet at all. In five villages surveyed, about
70% of the households use sanitary toilets but in the rest of the villages. The
picture is really dismal. The situation is really bad in other two villages
where only 30% and 50% of the households have sanitary latrines.

7.3 Hygiene behavior

People in the study areas often have
a poor understanding about the relationship between health, water and
sanitation. In some areas this understanding may exists but people still
practice unhygienic habits. Observations have shown that it is often easier to
change technology than people’s behavior and practices. Keeping this in mind,
the questionnaire is redesigned with emphasis on health and hygiene behavior.

Observation and questionnaire survey
indicated that about 96% of the populations of the study areas use tube-well
water for drinking; many people use some unsafe sources for other purposes like
personnel and domestic needs. As a result incidences of morbidity and mortality
from water borne diseases are still high in the areas. Behavioral changes in
sanitation leaves much to be desired (local government division 1998). It may
be mentioned that diarrhea is the most important cause of death and almost 19% of
all infant death were cause by diarrhea (Bangladesh bureau of statistics 1998).

Water and sanitation related diseases
include various types of diarrhea, worm infestations, skin and eye infections
and vector borne diseases. It is important to be familiar with various
transmission patterns, so as to be able to identify which particular hygiene
behaviors and measures can help to interrupt disease transmission. As the
impact of water supply and sanitation improvements on a disease depends on its
transmission route, water supply and sanitation facilities can be expected to
affect the diseases in a group in a similar way.

7.4 Cultural aspect

Every body have some notion about
what is good and what is bad for our health and what is clean, hygiene, or
pure, and what is dirty. These notions may differ per family, local community,
or religious, socio-economic or ethnic group. What these notions have in common
is that they influence our daily practice and hygiene behaviors. They may
however not necessarily be in line with what is needed to avoid transmission of

In rural study areas, people believe
sweet or sugary food is the cause of worm infestation. Another said that in
rural areas the excreta of babies and little children are considered to be
harmless. The defecation in the open by children is acceptable and very common

Some traditional behaviors may not be
based on an understanding of disease transmission but are basically healthy. In
many different communities human excreta are considered to be polluting and
dangerous. Also among many groups of people the left hand is used for canal
cleaning and no matter how well this hand is washed afterwards, it remains
“dirty” and should never be used for handling and serving food,
eating, shaking hand, etc.

Cultural views on causes of water and
sanitation related diseases often vary between different groups of people, like
women and men, rich and poor, old and young, etc.

Cultural views on causes of water and
sanitation related diseases often vary between different groups of people may
change with time, these perceptions result hygiene behaviors which are not
always grounded in health reasons hut may be good, so no need to change.

7.5 Access to water supply
and sanitation facilities

Without the resources to construct
and maintain water supply and sanitation facilities is difficult to attain
levels of personnel, domestic and environment hygiene conducive to health.
Resources relate not only to money, but also to the availability of land, time,
materials and also technology. All together they need management skills for
achieving improved facilities (Islam, 1992, 1999, 2001). In this part of
Bangladesh, water collection, often a responsibility of women, and usually also
children, can be very time consuming and arduous work.

Water carrying from a long distances
can absorb a quarter or more of the daily food intake; the task thus leaves
less time and energy for other essential activities.

Water availability is a major factor
in facilitation improvements in hygiene practices. But an improved water supply
alone does not always lead to the use of more water, as people may not be
accustomed to doing so, or there may be other constraints.

Where facilities are presents,
socio-economic criteria are determined whether people are allowed and can
afford to use them. Sometimes particular socio economic groups are excluded
from access, notably by the local elite or political or religious power groups.
In a number of cases, people lack the money to buy or the time to collect
sufficient quantities of water for daily needs. Water supply and sanitation in
the poor neighborhoods is often of a much lower standard and at a much higher
price than in the well off neighborhoods.

On the other hand, for household work
tube well water is used by only a small number of the population of the study
areas. This is in part due to limited awareness to the health hazard related to
the use of ponds or rivers for household purpose, but is also dependent on how
far the water source is. Unless it is close enough, it is extremely unlikely
that people would use the tube-well for all household purpose (govt. of

7.6 Socio economic

Our health related behavior is not
only determined by a complex mix of our knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, norms,
and customs. Socio- economic determinants like social values and structure,
income, resources constraints and education and even political factors also
play a dominant role.

Hygiene behavior and the prevention
of water and sanitation-related diseases are influenced by socio-economic
factors, such as proper housing, nutrition, clothing and education. Although
the precise relation is difficult to establish, it is not difficult to imagine
that families with better housing find it easier to maintain personal and
domestic hygiene than people with poor housing, especially when poor housing is
combined with crowding.

More and better clothing can be
washed more regularly; better nutrition provides a barrier against disease
transmission. Education may help to develop hygienic behavior. Where poverty
causes families, including mothers of small children, to make every effort to
earn a living insufficient time will be left to spend on behavior conducive to
prevent of water and sanitation related disease.

Adequate hand washing is very important
for good health. Study
indicated that as a rubbing agent, soil was commonly used 40%, soap used by
29%, and reported unaffordable by about 81% of non user. Good hand washing
behavior was positively associated with better social and economic indicators
including education of women observed. Both hands sufficiently contaminated
after traditional hand washing. After standardizing the observed components of
hand washing procedures, the use of any rubbing agent, such as soil, ash or
soap, produced acceptable cleaning. The
use of rubbing agent, such as soil or soap, rinsing with safer water, and
drying with a clean cloth or in the air produced acceptable bacteriological

7.7 Hygiene education

Hygiene education can be defined as
“process which promotes conditions and practices that prevent water and
sanitation related diseases” (ITN PUBLICATION). Hygiene education is
needed to improve the current sanitation situation in the study areas.

Hygiene education is an important
component of water supply and sanitation programmers because it helps users to
appreciate the need for proper water supply and sanitation facilities. It also
maximizes the potential health benefits of improved water supply and sanitation
facilities. It will help the need for proper operation and maintenance of
improved sanitation facilities, creates a willingness to contribute to the
operation and maintain cost.

Many hygiene approaches will teach
people about water and sanitation related diseases. What they are, how they are
caused, and how they can be prevented. But the education does not itself reduce
the risks of transmitting these diseases, only actions can.

7.8 Health

Women receive less than adequate
health care in Bangladesh and it is no exception in the study areas. The main
reason for such negligence is poor socio economic condition that prevails in
rural Bangladesh. Previously rural women had very little access to professional
health care, this situation has lately improved due to home visits by NGOs
worker or health workers. The health workers discuss about child health,
mother’s health, women education, birth control, personal health and family
planning gets the most of the attention and sanitation is the least discussed
topic. The situation in the study areas is about 12% use sanitary toilet, yet
as much 82% respondents do not receive any advice on proper sanitation from
health workers. This is same as for the safe drinking water. People do not know
and do not get sufficient advice to make pure water for drinking.

About coping with other water related
issues, there seems to be a total lack of initiative. Despite the fact that
water borne diseases are pervasive, little attempt is made for boiling or
filtering water before it is used for drinking and cooking. The reason is that
hand tube wells are used in all the villages as the primary and almost
exclusive source of drinking water and the villagers perceive this source as
“safe”. They are not to blame – for many years this is the message
that has been given to them. Beside boiling water is expensive and not many can
afford to boiling water on regular basis due to difficulty in gathering fuel.
For water purification people use more options than previously they had but they
do not try to use it. Only some time when they collect water from river or some
other source, they use tablets or filtering as a method of water purification,
some time they also they even do not want to do that. As a result, they are
drinking unsafe water and water borne and water related diseases are breaking

7.9 Women and water


A few things is very clear, the
primary house hold activities such as cooking and housekeeping and child care
are almost exclusively performed by women in the location as all in the
Bangladesh. In study areas, women are also involved in income generating
activities. They are raising poultry, handicraft and cattle. The most common
tasks performed by women are cooking, taking care of children, household
chores, collecting water and fuel. In the study areas, it is found that women
are solely performing in collection of water. But women in relatively well off
families do not collect water themselves. Their maid, adult children or family
members are used for this purpose.

Significant amount of time of a
woman’s and their effort is taken up because of water collection. On average, a
woman spends 70 minute of a day just for the water collection. It is assumed
that she is collecting water only once in a day to use all domestic purpose
other than drinking. This increases the opportunity cost for women by reducing
their leisure and working time.

Women and water is not only
interrelated in terms of time taken by women to collect water for household
chores. Depending on the distance of water source, women endure both physical
and social problems. The main hardship faced by women during water collection
is induced by weather factors. Water must be collected in rain or sun. Under
the scorching sun of summer, it is extremely difficult to walk half a mile or
more with a pitcher full of water. It is on the other hand very risky to do the
same in outpouring rain when the roads get muddy and slippery.




Based on the analyses of the data and
information collected the following conclusions are drawn:

life and culture in the study areas are intricately linked with water and
influenced by age old tradition and modern day priorities. One thing is very
clear: life in rural communities still revolve around agricultural activities
that are closely tied with the natural cycle of water availability. Lately,
water quality has become a major consideration since detection of high levels
of arsenic and iron in groundwater and salt water intrusion in the coastal
areas. All of these take place in the complex socio economic and cultural
fabric of the rural communities.

the study areas selected for this study had typical developing country village
like characteristics very low income, high illiteracy rate, small land
ownership and so on. The population age distribution was very revealing about
51% of the population was below the age of 20 and only 4% were above the age of
60. This leads to a very high dependency ratio. This huge mass of young people
must be given proper education, training and healthcare. Otherwise these
communities will face serious problems from a large number of unemployed youth.

status of women in the study village is poorer compared to the male population
both in terms of education and income. Women are particularly vulnerable as in
most cases they do not have any income or savings of their own. In case of
family emergencies or natural disasters such as floods, drought and cyclone,
women suffer significantly more than the males of the same family. Families are
very much the unit of rural communities in Bangladesh. Elderly parents stay
with the son or daughter. Decisions in a family are usually made jointly.
However, some important decisions have a strong gender slant. While making
decisions on land and asset, the male head of the family dominates. On the
other hand, decisions on family planning and children’s education are mainly
formulated by the female head of the family.

The life style in the study areas is traditional agriculture and
fisheries arc the main sources of income in most villages. Alternative income
generating activities from poultry, livestock and fish farms are very limited.
There is much room for intervention in this area that can significantly lift the
income and standard of living in rural Bangladesh. Where appropriate, villagers
can and do engage in trading, which can provide employments to many. Almost
every house of the study areas has sanitary latrines.  People in general have a very poor understanding
of the relation between health and sanitation. Rural sanitation suffers much
from the poor understanding of the health benefits of sanitary latrines.

link between water and rural life is intricate. The annual cycle of water
availability and its seasonal variation has important bearings on rural life.
The distribution of water over the hydrologic year is highly uneven in the
monsoon all the areas have water surplus and in the dry season, water shortage
becomes pervasive. The major water issues in the study areas include flood,
drought, salinity, iron, and water logging.

much mobilization was observed in terms of water supply for drinking or
irrigation. Due to poor socio economic condition, lack of education and lack of
rural institutions, the responsibility of providing water for the households
and agriculture primarily lies with the government and the NGOs. In fact, NGOs
activities arc also limited to easily accessible places and remote areas are
still neglected. When local communities became part of a larger regional
project, there was little involvement of the local people. The participatory
approach in water management is yet to he introduced in these areas.

well water is mainly used for drinking. Tube well is widely believed to be a
safe source of drinking water. Only recently, the villagers are learning about
the danger of arsenic in water collected from shallow tube wells. Other
household chores washing, bathing and cleaning are still done using pond and
river water, which could be the reason behind the prevalence of water borne

water for agriculture is mainly arranged by men, water for household needs is
almost exclusively collected by women. Major problems faced by women in this
regard include unfavorable weather (rain, mud and heat), physical hardship,
time involvement and social problems (religious restriction on working outside,
security while collecting water after sunset)

environmental need of water is the most neglected part water projects have
adversely affected fish and other aquatic species by blocking their migration
routes. Indirectly, irrigation and flood control projects have contributed to
conversion of forest, bush and wetland into crop fields and destroyed habitats
of wild species. During major foods, wild species become particularly
vulnerable as they try to take shelter on higher grounds or trees already
occupied by humans. Moreover, monoculture and commercial varieties have locally
reduced biodiversity

8.2 Recommendations

Based on the conclusions drawn above
the following recommendations are made:

1. The work should extend to
particularly observe the effect of development activities such as road,
embankments, building construction etc.

2. The study can be extended to
analyzed regular form irrigation schemes impacts on local ecology, water and

3. Similar study can be carried out
for impacts of industry implementation in local environment and water.

4. Here, the analysis is based on
water uses and environmental problems, water quality is not done sophistically.
Water quality should he investigated in details.

5. The probabilities of the water
resource developments and its impacts can be studied.

8.3 Further

Further recommended to be conducted in
this regard that can be useful for mitigation of the negative impacts and
enhance the positive impacts on environment in the rural areas of Bangladesh.


Zahurul Islam, M., (1992): Water
sanitation and hygiene in Rural Bangladesh, published in the J. of Irrigation
Engineering and Rural Planning, the Japanese Society of Irrigation, Drainage
and Reclamation Engineering, No. 23, Tokyo, Japan.

Zahurul Islam, M., (1994): Regional
surface water availability during dry and monsoon seasons in Bangladesh,
published in the J. of, Irrigation Engineering and Rural Planning, the Japanese
Society of Irrigation, Drainage and Reclamation Engineering, No. 26, Tokyo,

Zahurul Islam, M., (1999):
Environmental impacts of cross bunds and sluice gates constructed over the
river Baral in the Chalan Beel region, Institute of Water and Flood Management,
BUET,  Final Report, R  03 /1999, Dhaka.

Zahurul Islam, M., datta, A. R.,
Mondal, M. S. and Rahman, M. S., (2001): Environmental impacts of drainage
congestion in beel Kuralia and its mitigation approach, Institute of Water and
Flood Management, BUET, Final Report, Dhaka.

Zahurul Islam, M., (2003): An
investigation on flood flow vulnerability and environmental impacts of
Mayakanon Project, Institute of Water and Flood Management, BUET, Final Report,

Zahurul Islam, M., (2004): An
investigation on flood flow vulnerability and environmental impacts of
Modhumoti Model Town, Institute of Water and Flood Management, BUET, Final
Report, Dhaka



Photo A-2: Effects of drought


Photo A-3: Effects
of early drought on a wheat crop