Blog / 2 April 2013

Guardian of the River

Guardian of the River


'At times, the water of the river is completely black', says Sharif Jamil (39). On the banks of the Buriganga River many polluting industries can be found, like tanneries and textile factories. 'Many of them dump their untreated waste right into the water.' Due to insufficient sanitary and waste management facilities in the city, 10,000 cubic litres of partially treated sewage and about 4,500 ton of household waste also end up in the river every day. Another threat to the river is encroachment. Jamil: 'Dhaka's population is expanding rapidly and the land is taken away from the river at the same pace'.


Joke Waller Hunter scholarship

In 2007 Sharif Jamil was awarded by Both ENDS with a Joke Waller Hunter scholarship. With what he has learned, he trains others and sets up programs in other areas to engage more people in saving the natural water resources of Bangladesh. Up till now, Jamil has been the first and only official Riverkeeper in Bangladesh.  'With the help of Both ENDS and other partners, I want to establish a strong network of Riverkeepers in Bangladesh.'


Individual responsibility

Jamil feels that companies and communities, as well as the government, should realise how much potential this river has, not only as a source of life, of water and food, but also as an alternative transport opportunity to  alleviate the traffic congestion that Dhaka is notorious for. His programs are focused on raising awareness and advocacy work. He believes that community involvement is crucial: 'We have to make people themselves responsible for their environment'

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