Water pollution in a densely populated megapolis, Dhaka

Toriqul Bashar*, Ivan W. H. Fung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
134 Downloads (Pure)


Rapid urbanization has been a boon for industrial growth in Bangladesh, leading the Dhaka megapolis to become one of the least livable places in the world. These circumstances, however, have received little attention by policy makers and in academic research. Using mainly secondary data, this article explores the water quality of the river Buriganga that flows across Dhaka and identifies major sources of pollutants. While much of the article analyzes the sources and extent of pollution, it also points toward a great threat to public health from the presence of high levels of heavy metals, such as chromium, lead, and iron, as well as chemicals, including ammonia and phosphate. Moreover, the article recommends some policy changes that could potentially reduce pollution levels and boost water sustainability not only in Dhaka but also in other fast-growing cities in the least developed countries (LDCs).

Original languageEnglish
Article number2124
Issue number8
Early online date26 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Dhaka
  • Environmental sustainability
  • LDCs
  • Megapolis
  • Urbanization
  • Water pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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