Use of salty water

Waterway workers suffer from intestinal diseases, skin infections

Published : 23 May 2024 10:08 PM

Due to using salty and untreated water, 80 percent of the workers of ships plying inland waterways of the country are suffering from various types of complex intestinal diseases including skin infections and stomach pains. 

This information has been highlighted in a report of Shipping and Communication Reporters Forum (SCRF), an organization of media workers in Dhaka.

The organization on Thursday revealed the summary of the report in a media release. In the report, it has been recommended to make it mandatory to install water treatment devices in all types of public and private vessels carrying passengers and goods to protect the health of ship workers. 

The release said that this report had been prepared after conducting a year-long survey and research. It is said that during the survey more than 100 workers of 10 kinds of ships were spoken to along with specialist physicians. 

These vessels include passenger launches, various types of cargo ships, excavators, dredgers, dumb barges and houseboats.

According to SCRF, one fifth of the country is coastal. The water of the rivers there has high salinity almost throughout the year. Besides, almost all the rivers of the country are suffering from severe pollution. The sailors stay on the ship day after day. But there is no water treatment unit in public and private boats.

According to the report, the government and non-government boat owners - no authority provides free clean water. 

The low-paid workers are forced to use river water for all their work. As a result, they are suffering from serious diseases.

According to the SCRF report citing doctors, long-term use of salty and polluted river water can lead to many skin diseases including skin cancer. 

A variety of complex intestinal disorders can occur, including liver cirrhosis, bacillary dysentery, dysentery, stomach ulcers and regular diarrhea. 

To solve this crisis, SCRF has recommended making it mandatory to install water treatment units on all types of public and private vessels plying on inland waterways.