One River for Million Lives

Photos by M Ponir Hossain

Riverbank means fresh air. People come to Burigonga riverbank to pass leisure time even though
air is not very fresh here.

Buriganga is the river flowing besides Dhaka city and serving nearly 20 million people which gave the rise to Dhaka city over 400 years ago. Economically this river is very important to Dhaka city. Launches and Country Boats provide connection to other parts of the country through Sadarghat Launch Terminal, the vital riverine port of Bangladesh. There are hundreds of medium and large launches to carry passenger every day.

Apart from that, the whole river bank is full of diversified life. It provides shelter and livelihood to many landless people and climate refugees who migrated here from different parts of the country with the hope of changing their fate. These people work here mostly as daily labor, hawker, boatman and washer-man and in many other professions. It also provides pleasure to the poor children who swim on it.

This river brings hope to these people but unfortunately its water is totally unusable and color became pitch black due to tremendous pollution caused by urban waste. Despite of this pollution poor people also use this water for bathing, washing cloths etc. Though government has been taking so many steps to save it, but all of them go in vain because of mismanagement and lack of effectiveness.

M Ponir Hossain is a photographer based on Bangladesh.
His works exhibited in various places within Bangladesh and also in India (NatGeo Moment Award 2011). His Photo also published in a book called Positive Light.

People are drinking tea at Sadarghat Launch Terminal works as labor.

Riverbank is full of life with different kinds of activity. This picture shows a painter writing
with paint in the launch’s body.

Many climate refugees and poor people from different parts of the country come to Dhaka to change their destiny and works as a labor here. They earn around 5 USD per day.

A chef is cooking inside launch kitchen to serve its passengers later on.

People who migrated to Dhaka own vehicle which run by horse. They carry passengers from one place to another within Dhaka city. An owner is taking his horse after bathing it into the river.

Washing clothes and dry them in the river bank is a common activity here. Washer-men are collecting and packing washed clothes after drying it. Later on, they iron it and deliver to their respective customers. Each cloth costs around 15 cents to wash and iron.

Burigonga consist of several launch terminals. Sadarghat is the largest one among them. Each day few thousands of people gathered here to go to different parts of the country. So begging is a common phenomenon here.

There are few hundreds of boats in the river. People use them to cross the river easily. Boats are available anytime in a day from the dawn to very late night, no matter itís a heavy rain or hot sun.

The River Burigonga is flowing besides Dhaka city. Sewerage lines are directly connected to the river which causes massive pollution to this river that’s why water gets pitch black and unusable.

A man is thrashing his Lungi (Traditional cloth) to remove dust before wearing.

13Even though the water is unusable, poor people and labor use this water to take bath as they have no alternative water resource to access.

Dhaka is one of the most unplanned cities on earth. It lacks enough playgrounds for children. So they don’t get any chance to play outside. Eventually Burigonga River becomes ultimate playground for many homeless or slum children. Enough playgrounds are necessary for better tomorrow.

River Burigonga consist a number of Launch terminals and these terminals provide shelter to landless people and road urchins. The picture is showing three road urchins are sleeping in a terminal by sharing a tiny piece of bed sheet which depicts a true brotherhood.

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