Report on Environmental problem of some rural area in Bangladesh

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Report on Environmental problem of some rural area in Bangladesh



1.1 Introduction

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.

Environmental 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, 1992).

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 districts.

• 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


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 Bangladesh.

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.

Figure 2.1: Maps of Jamalpur and Kurigram districs of Bangladesh

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 bi-directional.

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 walkis 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 profile

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 revealing.

2.8 Identification 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 links.



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









Dasher hat Fuldaher


Mia Matha




Male 65 77 60 85 81 80 15 66
Female 18 19 15 15 19 16 17 17

Of the


15 13 21 8 20 25 17 17
Total 98 109 96 108 120 121 49 100

(Head of the family is taken 100% male)

Figure 4.1: Percentage of respondents by gender

4.3 Residence and migration

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

Residents Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Section 4 Section 5 Section 6 Section 7 Percentage%
25yr 97% 98% 96% 95% 99% 99% 96% 98%
10yr 0% 0% 0% 0% 2% 1% 1% 1%
60yr 0% 0% 4% 0% 2% 0% 0% 1%

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. Village District
1 Bagashara Jamalpur
2 West Pingna Jamalpur
3 Tarakandi Jamalpur
4 Dasherhat Kurigram
5 Fuldaherpara Jamalpur
6 Mia Jamalpur
7 Mathabanga(Mettor) Jamalpur

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:

1. What do you think is the right level of education for girls?

2. 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

SL No. Name of the village Parts of House Housing Materials
Mud Cement GI sheet Straw Bamboo Other
1 Bagashara


Floor 65 30 5
Wall 10 10 20 40 6
Roof 25 65 10
2 West Pingna


Floor 77 13 10 10
Wall 15 10 20 35 10
Roof 25 65 10
3 Tarakandi


Floor 60 30 10
Wall 15 10 20 35 15 5
Roof 25 62 13
4 Dasherhat


Floor 65 25 5
Wall 17 10 25 40 4 4
Roof 25 65 10
5 Fuldaherpara


6 Mia


7 Mathabhanga


Floor 10 85 5
Wall 10 10 20 40 15 5
Roof 20 75 5

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 etc.

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 use

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 purpose.

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.

5.4 Water 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 water.

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 considerabl