Mallick, Shahid, Class of 2011 – (Bangladesh)

Practicum Summary:

Water Pollution and Social Change in Bandladesh

Shahidul’s study seeks to understand and explain how industrialization and its polluted effects to rivers induce social change to protect the environmental, ecology, and livelihoods around the Bangshi River. The Bangshi River is an important tributary of the Barhamaputra-Jamuna river system in Bangladesh and also a main resource for local people of Ghughudia. This research focuses on options for sustainable and environmentally friendly industrialization for community change and improvement of the economy and employment rate in Bangladesh, specifically in the village of Ghughudia. Two questions were examined: 1) What are the perceptions of different actors in regards to water pollution, and 2) How can these actors be mobilized to reclaim the rights of the people? To gather qualitative information, Shahidul conducted focus group discussions, in-depth interviews, and descriptive surveys. The representative stakeholder groups include fishermen, farmers, small businesses, milkmen, and students from Ghughudia, while owners of industry, politicians, media counterparts, and civil servants were identified outside of the Ghughudia village. In order to promote social change, Shahidul recommends identifying stakeholders interests and encouraging behavioral change, education on environmental water management, capacity building for local government, advocating for consumer awareness, and an overall environmental campaign backed by livelihood opportunities.